‘Empty Bowls’ and willing hands

Event addresses hunger
Apr. 02, 2013 @ 04:11 PM

When Tracy Brinkley invited me to participate in the second installment of the Empty Bowls Project at Memorial United Methodist Church, I didn't hesitate.
For years, Brinkley and founder Sandy McGhee have helped orchestrate events in the Chair City and foster the success of each attempt to unite this community. The dynamic duo struck a winning combination again this year, raising more than $13,000 from dinner and a silent auction, exceeding the $12,000 goal of $12,000 set before the event.
Both of these ladies would immediately caution the readers of this text to examine the full realm of the project and downplay the notion that they accomplished something. Instead, they would remark, this was a collaborative project and it took every set of hands that helped prepare the meal, the bowls, the music and the donations from every individual to allow things to run smoothly.
And in fairness, they would be absolutely right. Local restaurants including Sunrise Diner, Ruby Tuesday's, Capri's, Domino's, Tommy's Barbecue, Sprinkle of Sugar and Rosa Mae's — which donated 400 yeast rolls — went above and beyond the call to provide food. Celebrity soup servers Keith Tobin, Cindy Farmer, Tommy Hodges, Amy Greeson, Joe Bennett and Jeff Insley gave of their time, while Mitch Snow and his sister, Melodye Hadley, performed during the meal.
These individuals gave residents a reason to smile at what is taking place in their hometown. It will take willing hearts and able hands of many other communities stepping up like Thomasville to end hunger, but for two ministries in this corner of the world, the March 22 Empty Bowls event made a substantial impact.
On Tuesday, I spoke with Stephanie Strickland, executive director of Cooperative Community Ministry. Her eyes glimmered a bit when she spoke of her excitement at the success of Empty Bowls. CCM and Project Divine Interruption will each receive half of the final sum of money generated from the project.
For women like Brinkley, McGhee and Strickland, however, this is more than a simple donation. This is about seeing a type of social justice prevail which empowers minority and low-income communities. It is an acknowledgement that with privilege comes great responsibility.
I leapt at the opportunity to participate in this mission, because strategies to assist marginalized populations are essential to the function of a healthy community. As awareness is promoted and more individuals understand the needs of those surrounding them, Thomasville climbs one step closer to improving the lot in life for everyone in the city.

Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3575, or kennedy@tvilletimes.com.