Empty Bowls volunteers know firsthand how Salvation Army helps people

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – Hundreds of people turned out to combat hunger and homelessness in Tupelo.

The Salvation Army held its annual “Empty Bowls” Luncheon. For $15, guests got to sample soups from 50 restaurants, churches and civic groups.

The fundraiser helped the ministry serve more than 230,000 meals last year.

Riva Blair helped several vendors at the Empty Bowls luncheon who didn’t quite know how to operate the portable burners that warmed the soup.

Blair used the portable burners everyday during a tough period in her life.

“I’ve lived in a tent before, so I know how to set burners up, I lived in a tent for ten months, just me and my cats, and God,” Blair.

Blair stays in the Salvation Army’s lodge and helps out at the ministry. She was part of an army of volunteers working at the 21st Empty Bowls luncheon at the Tupelo Furniture Market.

Youlanda Thompaon is another Salvation Army resident who volunteered at Empty Bowls.

Both women say the Salvation Army has impacted their lives in many ways.

“They help me, feed us everyday, we can go out, do chores, get a chance to go out and look for a job,” said Thompson.

“I’ve gotten really close to a lot of people, found a lot of good friends,” said Blair.

As people leave the Empty Bowls lunch, they are given a hand made piece of pottery. It’s a reminder that homelessness and hunger affect many people throughout the year.

Belinda Stahl makes the trip from Hamilton every year.

“It’s wonderful, Salvation Army does such good work, it helps them out,  You get a great meal, everyone should mark this down, be waiting on it and come next year if you didn’t make it this year,” said Stahl.

The Salvation Army typically raises $50,000 from the Empty Bowls luncheon.

The expanded shelter that will have apartments for families should be opening soon at the Tupelo Salvation Army.


Categories: Local News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *