The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 21, 2012

Our View: Empty bowls, full hearts

The Joplin Globe

JOPLIN, Mo. — One by one they came through the door, hungry but satisfied to talk with their neighbor while standing in line.

They sought out a bowl, paid the price of admission and waited for their cup and a half of soup.

But through some miscalculation, the amount of food didn’t come close to matching the number of bowls.

Yet no one complained. They continued through the door, selecting a bowl, paying the price of admission and walking away with an empty bowl.

An unintended lesson, perhaps, but one truly appreciated by members of the Joplin community who came out 500 strong for the first Empty Bowls fundraiser held this past Thursday at Phoenix Fired Art, 1603 S. Main St.

Empty Bowls is a program launched in 1990 by a high school teacher in Michigan. Since then it has gained international attention. Heather Grills, owner of Phoenix Fired Art, said that she knew it was something she wanted to bring to Joplin when she opened her studio and gallery in February.

An estimated $12,000 was raised through the event in Joplin. Those empty bowls will help fill the plates of those who truly do need a meal. The money raised will be divided equally among Salvation Army, Watered Gardens and Crosslines.

The bowls, created by area artists, and the soup, prepared by local restaurants, were all donated, as was the labor and other costs associated with the event.

The grass-roots effort worked flawlessly — even down to the empty bowls.

Great event.