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Empty bowls can mean full hands

It is very easy to make a bowl. All you have to do is put your hands together, side by side.

Go ahead do it right now. There is great potential in that small space you just formed.

Ask any child who has ever put his hands together to try to hold a stream of water or a pile of marbles. In it he can hold a single furry kitten or a million grains of sand. In a child’s imagination he might be able to hold the entire universe.

Growing up in the Methodist church, I remember singing the verse, “He’s got the whole world in his hands,” as part of our church’s Vacation Bible School. I imagined God’s hands being so large that He could wrap His fingers around the universe.

It was a powerful image for a young tyke to contemplate — that God is so big that He cradles the universe in the bowl of His hands. It was a comforting idea that the Creator cares for His creation so much that he carries it with him.

Over the last few months, potters from the Natchez Clay pottery studio have been busy making bowls for Empty Bowls, an event that they sponsor every two years to raise money for the Natchez Stewpot.

I am fortunate and blessed to be a part of this event for the second time.

Using our hands and simple lumps of clay we have produced a stunning array of bowls ready to raise awareness of hunger in our small community, our nation and the entire world.

The idea is a simple one. By buying a ticket for $25, you get to pick out a bowl and have it filled with a delicious bowl of gumbo. Afterward, you get to take the bowl home with you.

A popular saying from the loosely organized Empty Bowls effort is that keeping the bowl is a reminder of the many empty bowls that go unfilled every day.

My hope is that those who buy a bowl this year will also remember the responsibility we have to our fellow humans, to care for each other, as God cradles the entire world in the bowl of His hands.

Started in 1990 in Michigan, Empty Bowls has become a international grassroots success story. Each event across the world is independent and is organized to fit the needs of its specific community.

The Natchez Clay Empty Bowls project started six years ago and has raised more than $30,000 in that time.

All of the time and material it took to create the wide array of bowls is donated by the potters and Natchez Clay. All of the food and its preparation is donated.

One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to the Natchez Stewpot.

This year’s event will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 13 at Natchez Clay at 101 Clifton Ave.

A limited number of tickets are still available and can be purchased at Anruss salon, Bass Pecan and Natchez Coffee Company.

So buy a ticket, enjoy some good food, help those who need it the most and remember that we should strive to be more like the one who truly has the whole world in his hands.

Ben Hillyer is the design editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3540 or ben.hillyer@natchezdemocrat.com.