The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 14, 2012

Ann Leach, guest columnist: Share blessings with those who have none

By Ann Leach
Special to The Globe

JOPLIN, Mo. — In this season of giving and receiving, I want to encourage your readers to think outside the box and seek out new and creative ways to  share their blessings and support and encourage others who aren’t certain they have any.

We have an opportunity to do that this Thursday when Phoenix Fired Art participates in Empty Bowls, an event to help stamp out hunger right here at home.

 In what will be a beautiful exchange, guests will give a donation of $15 to go to Crosslines food pantry program, Salvation Army and Watered Gardens and receive a warm bowl of soup served up in a ceramic bowl made by a local artist that is theirs to keep.

 You give and you receive: a minimum donation for original art and a warm meal.  Soup is provided by local restaurants like Festival Mexican, Granny Shaffer's, Instant Karma, Kinnaree, Mohaska Farmhouse, Mythos, Orient Express and Panera.

Buddhist monks set out each day with their empty bowls  (begging bowls) and get to eat only what has been given to them  that day.  Some days are better than others, just as it is for hundreds in our area who don’t know where the next meal is coming from.  The monks trust and have faith that their community will support them and they take action to find their sustenance: walking, serving and praying, walking, serving and praying.

Our community’s homeless are seeking a home, a meal, a job and praying that the community will respond.

We can on Thursday evening.

I don’t believe we have to beg like the monks; we live in an abundant universe. But we do need to share the bounty with others, along with our gratitude for what we have. This event is our way to practice that universal principle of giving and receiving.  

Kudos to Heather Grills and Brent Skinner at Phoenix Fired Art for leading the team of artists willing to give of their talents to this project. I guarantee they will be blessed by seeing their work warming the hands and hearts of the guests who purchase their bowls. And we’ll be blessed to have original art to take home and enjoy for years to come.  

As we gaze upon and use those bowls in the future, we will remember the small step we took this year to give back to those without the assurance of a next meal. Filling that bowl will remind us to continue practicing the law of giving and receiving throughout the year. The need is large, and giving need not know a season.  

Happy Thanksgiving.

Ann Leach is a life coach. She lives in Joplin.