By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal
If the recent spate of cold, rainy days has put you in mind of a bowl of delicious hot soup, you’re in luck.
The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary’s Empty Bowls Luncheon is just around the corner.
This year’s event is Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Building V of the Tupelo Furniture Market on Coley Road in Tupelo. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at the door.
“We have 26 area restaurants providing soups for the event,” said Betty Reece, chairman of the bake sale that goes along with the luncheon.
Soups will include potato, gumbo, vegetable, beef vegetable, chicken tortilla, chili, tomato and crawfish bisque, to name a few. The $12 ticket will get you a bowl of soup, a piece of bread and a bottle of water.
Last year’s event drew between 1,800 and 2,000 people and raised about $35,000 for the Salvation Army, said Pam Shields, bake sale co-chairman.
“We feed between 125 and 150 people at the Salvation Army every day,” Reece said. “This makes a huge difference. With the economy like it is, this really helps.”
Area potters, schoolchildren and auxiliary members have all made the pottery bowls that come with the price of a ticket.
“The Joyner Elementary kindergarten students called and wanted to be a part of this event, too, so they’re making hundreds of Rice Krispie treats to sell at the bake sale,” Reece said. “They’ll also be making little pinch pots to hold the salt and pepper we’ll put on the tables. We’ll sell those, too, if people would like to buy them.”
If you’d like to participate in the luncheon, but don’t have much time to sit down and eat, you can place a call for carryout orders or curbside delivery by calling (662) 842-9222 through Feb. 16.
Bake sale goodies
The bake sale is a big draw at the event. Auxiliary members and community volunteers prepare all kinds of treats for people to purchase before, during or after the luncheon.
This year’s offerings will include homemade cakes, such as chocolate, caramel, coconut; pies, cookies, brownies and candies; cheesecakes; chocolate-dipped fruit; sourdough bread, cornbread, friendship bread and muffins; and jarred items, such as spaghetti sauce and a dried bean soup mix.
And this year, back by popular demand, will be boxed meals.
“Last year, Betty came to me and asked if I would provide a prepared meal,” said Nancy Stubbs, who works at BancorpSouth on Coley Road. “Just one meal. A meat casserole, a vegetable casserole or salad, bread and a dessert – a meal for people to buy and take home. I said we can do better than that.”
Stubbs challenged bank employees at other branches to also prepare meals for the event.
“From there, I had people calling and offering to makes cakes and cookies,” Stubbs said. “In all, we prepared 12 meals and I think we got between $40 and $60 per meal. This year, I already know we’re going to have 15 meals.”
The meals come in a Styrofoam cooler wrapped in colorful cellophane and tied up with ribbons.
“I’ve found if it looks pretty, it sells,” Reece said.
Also this year, Presly Wallace is going to smoke 104 Boston butts for the event. Each piece of meat weighs between 7 and 8 pounds and will sell for $25.
“These are not frozen,” Reece said. “They’re hot off the smoker. It will be first come, first served on these. Presly said he thought we could easily sell 300 of these, but we didn’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves.”
Reece is also putting out a special call to the women and men who have been featured as a Cook of the Week in the Daily Journal.
“Please bring your signature dessert for us to donate to the bake sale,” she said. “You all have such talent. You will be recognized individually at the event. We could really use the help.”
Donated items from Cooks of the Week or anyone in the community who wants to donate an item to the bake sale can be dropped off at Building V of the Tupelo Furniture Market anytime Tuesday, Feb. 16, or early on the morning of the event.
“And if you can’t get it there, we can pick it up locally,” Reece said.
For more information on the Empty Bowls Luncheon, call Reece at (662) 401-0388.