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TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – It was a lunch rush, outside and inside the Tupelo Furniture Market, as more than 50 restaurants , churches and civic groups were serving soup.

For 15 years, the women’s auxiliary of the Salvation Army has hosted the Empty Bowls Luncheon. For 15 bucks, diners get a bowl of soup, a bottle of water and bread. All funds allow the ministry to carry on its mission of helping others.

Last year, more than 78,000 meals were served from this kitchen in the Salvation Army’s Carnation Street complex. And the Red Shield Lodge is always overcrowded.

“We have children over there that they need to have a place they can go in and have their own space, so we are looking at building a new shelter, still on this property, but also have individual rooms for families,” said Maj. Sue Dorman.

In fact, some volunteers spent their lunchtime collecting funds, dollar by dollar, for the new shelter. Seven year old Kennon Quinn is doing a lot to raise money for the Salvation Army.

“We’re doing charity yard sale, kids care cookbook and a golf a thon.” Did you think of all this? “Yes” Why did you want to help the Salvation Army out? “To help kids that don’t have toys , homes or food,” Quinn said.

Whether they were serving or sampling, those at the Empty Bowls luncheon know they’re making a difference.

“It’s a great thing, good for community, to raise money for the Salvation Army,” said Rob Lesley, of Romie’s.

“It’s important to come out here and give back, cause some people don’t have good and they do need it and we all need to pitch in when we can,” said Ebony Hattis.

“All the things they do, not only in terms of clothing, but homeless and helping people get housing and that kind of thing, medical things, all of that’s done by the Salvation Army,” said Will Rogers.

Indeed it takes everyone working together to make the Empty Bowls Luncheon a success. Long after all this is cleaned up, what happened at this one event will help those less fortunate all throughout the year.

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