Simple bowl holds world of power

Published 12:20 am Friday, January 2, 2015

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.

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For some in our community, bowls are filled with something far more important kittens and marbles — their next meal.

The Natchez Stewpot knows how important a simple food container is for the more than 300 people they feed each day. Whether it is one of the city’s homeless who is looking for the only warm meal of the day or it is one of our communities homebound who doesn’t have the strength to even open a can of food, one of the world’s simplest forms — the bowl — represents the very essence of life itself.

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

Using their hands and simple lumps of clay they have produced an 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 meal. 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 10 years  ago and has raised thousands of dollars.

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 Feb. 15 at Natchez Clay at 101 Clifton Ave.

A limited number of tickets will be available at the Natchez Coffee Company starting next week.

So buy a ticket, enjoy some good food, help those who need it the most and when you take your new bowl home, remember how powerful that simple form can really be.


Ben Hillyer is the design editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3540 or by e-mail at