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Empty Bowl luncheon combats hunger

There are empty bowls all around the world.

But, thanks to a program that began with the vision of a high school teacher, bowls are being filled and hunger is diminished at least for a while.

In 1990, a Michigan teacher was searching for a way to support a local food drive and came up with the idea of an “empty bowl” luncheon of soup, bread and water as a reminder of hunger in the world.

On Thursday, May 6, the people of Pike County will have a chance to be a part of this worldwide program to combat hunger by attending an Empty Bowl Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Bush Memorial Baptist Church in Troy.

The Empty Bowl Luncheon is a fundraiser for the Pike County Salvation Army and participants will pick out a handmade ceramic bowl, which will be filled with soup, and served with bread, tea and dessert.

“Our luncheon will be a little different from the original Empty Bowl concept,” said Kim May, Pike County Salvation Army director.

“But it will be a way that we can help combat hunger here at home.”

“And, what is really unique about this Empty Bowl Luncheon is that participants will take their bowls home as reminders that there are people all around the world who know what real hunger is like.”

The bowls are all handmade. About 80 of them were made by participants in the Alabama Clay Conference that was held at Troy University in February. Several students at Troy University made bowls, as did senior adults at the Colley Senior Complex. There will be about 110 bowls available for the luncheon.

“The bowls are works of art and something that anyone would be proud to own,” May said. “I’m sure that any one of them would sell for much more than the $20 price of a luncheon ticket.”

The bowls will be washed and ready for filling when the participants arrive. So, the early arrivals will get the first picks.

Several Troy University football players on the 2009 Sunbelt Conference Championship team made bowls that will be auctioned during the luncheon. Levi Brown, Bear Woods, Boris Lee, Cornelius Williams and Jeremy Hawkins all made and signed bowls. Any Trojan fan would be happy to have any one of them, May said.

All proceeds from the Empty Bowl Luncheon will support the Pike County Area Food Bank.

“The idea behind the Empty Bowl Luncheon is for everything to be donated and we greatly appreciate the support of our local businesses,” May said.

The businesses that are providing soup for the Empty Bowl Luncheon are Santa Fe, Quiznos, Mr. Ho’s, The Pines, Ruby Tuesday, Troy Regional Medical Center, and the Culinary Arts Academy at Charles Henderson High School. The Colley Complex and Sister Schubert’s Homemade Rolls are providing the dessert, Danny Boutwell and Colonial Bread, the bread and Food World, the tea.

“We want to thank Bush Memorial for the use of its facility and the Printing Press for the luncheon tickets,” May said.

“And I want to especially thank Dr. Marian Parker at Troy University and Jenniffer Barner, Chamber of Commerce president, for making us aware of the Empty Bowl project and for all of their support in making the luncheon a success. And a big thank you, too, to all of those who made the bowls and, hopefully, all the bowls will be filled on Thursday.”

Tickets for the Empty Bowl Luncheon are available at the Salvation Army Service Center in Troy and at the Pike County Chamber of Commerce.