‘Empty Bowls’ help fill food bank at Salvation Army

Published 11:01 pm Thursday, May 6, 2010

There were some bowls left following the Empty Bowl Luncheon benefit for the Pike County Salvation Army on Thursday. But the event was deemed a great success by Kim May, director of the local Salvation Army.

“We raised more than $2,500 and that will go a long way is helping stock our food bank,” May said. “This was our first Empty Bowl Luncheon and attendance was good and everyone seemed to have a good time. Plans are to make this an annual event and it should continue to grow each year as more people learn about Empty Bowl and its mission.”

Each participant purchased a $20 ticket, which allowed them to select a handmade ceramic bowl to take home and enjoy a lunch of soup, rolls, dessert and tea.

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“The quality of the bowls was unbelievable,” May said. “Each one of them was a creation that anyone would like to have.”

The bowls were made by participants in the 2010 Alabama Clay Conference at Troy University in February, senior adults at the Colley Senior Complex and Troy University students. Several Troy University football players made bowls that were auctioned at the luncheon.

Trojan linebacker Bear Woods, who is a free agent with the Atlanta Falcons, made the bowl that got the top bid of $1,000. The bid went to Troy University professor Fred Green, who is the university’s faculty athletics representative.

“The reason for my bid was two-fold,” Green said. “I’ve gotten to know a lot of the young men and women who play sports and represent Troy University so well. And, I give donations periodically to the local Salvation Army because I believe that we should help our community first and then work our way to the rest of the world as much as we can.”

Green said he appreciates what the Salvation Army does in the way of providing a food bank for those in need.

“There are a lot of people who are having a hard time and feeding the hungry is important to me,” he said. “When I heard about the Empty Bowl Luncheon, it seemed like the perfect thing to do.”

Green said he hasn’t seen the bowl that he was awarded through the bidding process.

“All of the football players who made bowls are great young men and there was no favoritism in the bidding,” he said. “It was just in support of the Salvation Army and its mission to combat hunger.”

May said every day there are requests for food at the Pike County Salvation Army Service Center in Troy.

“The requests come from families, senior citizens, those who are disabled, the homeless and people just passing through,” she said. “We even have people who were once donors to the Salvation Army but are now having to ask for help.”

Many of those who request food are the victims of unforeseen circumstances and emergency situations.

“Sometimes people lose their jobs or are faced with an illness either personal or within their family,” May said. “We have a lot of senior citizens whose only income is their social security check. When they have unexpected expenses such as high utilities, they don’t have a way to make extra money and they need our help.”

Emergency situations such as house fires put families in great need.

“There are just so many reasons that people need help,” May said. “We have many more people here in Pike County who don’t have enough to eat than you might think.”

The greatest need for the Salvation Army Food Bank is protein items.

“Canned meats are more expensive than a couple of cans of beans. So we usually have beans and corn but few protein products,” May said. “We like to include some kind of protein when put together a food box. The money raised by the Empty Bowl Luncheon will help us to provide more protein to those in need.”

May expressed appreciation to all of those who helped with the Empty Bowl Luncheon and to all who participated.

Dr. Marian Parker and Larry Percy at Troy University, and Jenniffer Barner, Pike County Chamber of Commerce president, were instrumental in the planning, organization and the carrying out of the event, she said.