TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- The federal government says Mississippi has the worst hunger problem in the country.
Each year, the Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary in Tupelo plans the Empty Bowls Luncheon to help fund efforts to help address that problem.
Preparation for the group's biggest fundraiser begins a year in advance with help from volunteers with a unique name.
The Mud Ladies, which includes one man, makes the pottery for the event, which is now in its 20th year.
Barbara Vaughn is a member of the Mud Ladies Plus One.
"So, it's kind of an in-depth process. A bowl takes two weeks start to finish because we have to let it dry in between," Vaughn explained.
It starts with rolling the clay to forming each bowl by hand to the beautiful glazed finish.
Each bowl is fired in the kiln, not once, but twice.
Just two weeks after the Empty Bowls Luncheon, the pottery wheel churns again.
"I think it's just exciting to us. We start out asking,'Have we got 100 yet?'" Vaughn said.
More than 500 pottery bowls will be donated from local artists including students from Thomas Street Elementary, who now have an after school pottery club.
Along with these 2,000 bowls, volunteers design pottery pieces to raise additional funds.
"Now the ladies are making fun things to go on the sale table. They just let their creativity go wild," Vaughn said.
Items will include prayer crosses, platters and even a fairy garden.
Each piece is a reminder that there are those still in need right around us.
The Empty Bowls Luncheon is planned for March 14 at the Tupelo Furniture Market.
It will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., but doors open at 10:30 a.m. for shopping.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children.