TUPELO – The clay bowls that Dean Webb and a room full of women made Wednesday were mostly decorative symbols, but they represented a hearty helping of The Salvation Army’s care for the hungry.
“These ladies help a lot of people each year,” said Webb, co-owner of Midnite Pottery in Tupelo, as he carefully molded a spinning hunk of wet clay.
The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary used Webb’s shop to “throw” the bowls it will give away at the Empty Bowls Luncheon in February, the annual fundraiser that supports the organization’s grocery pantry, as well as the 150 hot meals it serves each day.
Helene Fielder of Marietta joined her fellow potters around a festive, clay-smeared work table.
“The economy being what it is, this is one way artists can help, by donating their skills and time,” said Fielder.
Organizations like The Salvation Army are seeing a steady increase in people asking for help.
Auxiliary member Barbara Vaughn recently helped sign up folks for the Christmas Angel Tree. Compared to last year, she saw many more of the working poor who’ve had their hours cut.
The food pantry at Vaughn’s church, St. Luke United Methodist, is also serving a wider demographic.
“We had an 80-year-old woman recently – her first time – tell us her income just wasn’t enough,” said Vaughn.
The St. Francis Food Pantry in Aberdeen is giving away more than 400 boxes of groceries each month. Organizer Terry O’Rourke said that with 20 new applicants in the past two months, there’s never any food left over.
At Guntown Middle School, Coach Kevin Long had his seventh-graders make bowls in class, explaining that today, more than ever, those who feed the poor need their help.
“It teaches our kids to reflect upon something beside themselves,” said Long. “The Salvation Army makes sure that hungry people get something to eat every day.”
Contact Galen Holley at (662) 678-1510 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Galen Holley/NEMS Daily Journal