Empty Bowls lunch helps feed hungry, homeless people throughout area

Local restaurants serve up soup at annual fundraiser for the Tupelo Salvation Army

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – Thousands of people had a bowl or two of soup, and at the same time, helped the area’s only homeless shelter.

Aahanna Hubbard spent part of her time at Empty Bowls encouraging guests to try some soup from Finney’s Sandwich Shop.

Aahanna and her mother, Mikhala have been living at the Tupelo Salvation Army’s Jim Ingram Red Shield Lodge. Mikhala Hubbard said helping serve soup at the Empty Bowls luncheon is just one way she can give back to the organization that has done so much for her family.

“It’s great to see everyone coming out to support, from the seniors to young folks from schools, it’s really great and it’s important to show young people what it means to support our community,” Aahanna Hubbard said.

Students from Mooreville Middle School were helping in the curbside pickup line. They are part of the Junior Civitan Club whose motto is ‘Builders of Good Citizens.’

“It’s amazing how we all get a chance to come serve and that’s what God called us to do,” said Ella Credille, a student at Mooreville Middle School.

More than 40 restaurants served soup at Empty Bowls. The event is organized by the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary and every $15 ticket supports the ministries at the Salvation Army that help the hungry and food insecure.

“That doesn’t just mean folks homeless, it also is those who are seniors living in their homes who come in and eat in our community center, for fellowship as well as food. And also folks who may have their own place but maybe pantry is a little bit bare but they come into social services to get a food box and items for fridge and freezer,” said Capt. Heather Dolby, of the Tupelo Salvation Army.

“It’s important to support the cause because they do so much and we want to be sure they know Ethel Mae’s will be here to support them,” said Demetra Tubbs Sherer, of Ethel Mae’s Restaurant.

“It’s an awesome organization, very trustworthy, sometimes not sure whether you want to donate to something, but this is a great cause,” said Belinda Stahl, who came from Hamilton to enjoy soup at Empty Bowls and support the Salvation Army.

And every ticket holder gets a piece of pottery on their way out, as a reminder that there are empty bowls on some dinner tables, and the Salvation Army is there to help meet the need.

The Tupelo Salvation Army serves more than 1200 meals a week from its Community Center on Carnation Street. They are always looking for volunteers to help out.

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