EDITORIAL: Empty Bowls

By NEMS Daily Journal

Ash Wednesday event funds meals for the down-and-out
The Empty Bowls Luncheon, an Ash Wednesday fund-raising event for The Salvation Army’s ministries in Tupelo and the region, grows in importance each year because the need for the Army’s food programs seems to never stop growing.
The 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. event in Building 5 of the Tupelo Furniture Market appeals to the most basic charitable impulse for most people – feeding the hungry in life’s most vexing and unfortunate circumstances.
Planned and executed by the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary, the simple meal is spread with an amazing outpouring of volunteer labor, donated soups, breads and memento “empty bowls” from many different potters.
The $15 donation at the luncheon multiplies every day with meals served at the Army’s Red Badge Lodge, a temporary housing shelter at the headquarters campus on Carnation Street. The unusually cold winter has added to the usual flow of guests who are without housing and down on their luck.
As reported earlier, in January, the Army served more than 4,000 hot meals to residents it had taken in during the freezing weather. It served an additional 1,500 meals in the daily lunch line as well as the 325 plates it delivered through Meals-on-Wheels.
In 2010 the Salvation Army served an amazing 60,000 meals throughout Lee County. Provision of all of those meals in 2011 is directly tied to the success of tomorrow’s Ash Wednesday luncheon.
The recession economy also has strained the Army’s funding in Tupelo to the point that part of its ministry, including an after-school care program, has been suspended.
The Salvation Army is an independent and autonomous international Christian denomination, but its work worldwide often is broadly, ecumenically supported, as is the case in Tupelo, especially through the Women’s Auxiliary.
Empty Bowls is common ground for people of good will, regardless of religious affiliation or preference. Members of the auxiliary have worked for months planning for Empty Bowls. It would be marked a great success if everything sells out.