2014-01-30 / Top News

Empty Bowls Palm Beach County hosts hunger-fighting fundraisers

SPECIAL TO FLORIDA WEEKLY

Hunger facts in Palm Beach County:

• More than 57 percent of county children rely on free or discounted school breakfast and lunch programs for daily meals during the week.

• Nearly 180,000 adults in the county qualify as poor by federal guidelines.

• About 17 percent of county residents do not know where their next meal will come from.

With those startling facts in mind, Empty Bowls Palm Beach County offers its simple slogan: Disrupting hunger one loaf of bread, one bowl of soup at a time.

The organization is inviting the public to help fight hunger at two Empty Bowls events on Feb. 14 and 15 in Palm Beach and West Palm Beach. The events provide an opportunity to share a simple communal meal while helping to end hunger in Palm Beach County. Proceeds will benefit the Palm Beach County Food Bank, which distributes food at no cost to nearly 100 local non-profit organizations that feed the hungry throughout the county.

From 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 14 at The Episcopal Church at Bethesda-by-the-Sea, 141 South County Road in Palm Beach, attendees can purchase a handmade pottery bowl for $25 and select from a variety of soups prepared by some of the island’s best restaurants. Bread provided by local bakers will also be offered.

From 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15 Empty Bowls Palm Beach County will continue on The Great Lawn during the West Palm Beach GreenMarket with soup provided by chefs from 11 of the area’s finest eating establishments, along with artisan breads provided by Whole Foods. Admission for the West Palm Beach Empty Bowls event is $20.

The communal meal is designed to bring awareness to the fact that, despite the wealth in Palm Beach County, hunger is still a major issue facing tens of thousands of families in the community, with approximately 64,000 children in Palm Beach County at risk of going to bed each night hungry.

The bowl that each diner takes home is meant to be a reminder of the empty bowls – and empty stomachs – that still need to be filled in the community. “Our Empty Bowls events are designed to be a simple solution to help address the complex issue of hunger in our community,” event co-chair Chris Oberlink said in a prepared statement. Joining her in launching this inaugural Empty Bowls Palm Beach County event is Alice Scanlon. “I have been involved in Empty Bowls events in other parts of the country and have seen the profound effect the experience of sharing this simple meal can have on raising awareness about hunger, and raising funds to help meet this most basic need.”

Sponsors of Empty Bowls Palm Beach County include the law firm Grand Sponsor Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, BMO Private Bank, Costco, Episcopal Church at Bethesda-by-the-Sea, FreeRide, Swank Specialty Produce and Whole Foods.

Local potters creating bowls for the Empty Bowls events include the Armory Art Center; Barbara Schwartz; Ceramic League of the Palm Beaches; Mosquito Mud Pottery; Adult Education Program at Palm Beach Lakes High School; Palm Beach Sculpture Supplies; and Palm Beach State College, Palm Beach Gardens Campus.

Restaurants and food purveyors providing soup ingredients, soups and bread include on Feb. 14, Bethesda-bythe Sea event: The Breakers Hotel, 264 The Grill, Bice, Café Boulud, Chez Jean- Pierre, The Colony Palm Beach, Cucina Dell ‘Arte, Michael R. McCarty’s, Nick and Johnnie’s, Palm Beach Grill, Pastry Heaven, Sandy James Fine Foods, and TooJay’s Gourmet Deli. And, on Feb. 15, West Palm Beach GreenMarket event: 3800 Ocean Restaurant, Cafe 1451 at the Norton Museum of Art, Coolinary Café, Field of Greens, Little Moir Restaurants (Foodshack, Leftovers, The Garage), Old Marsh Golf Club, Paris in Town Le Bistro, The Lord’s Place Café Joshua Catering, The Reef Grill, TooJay’s Gourmet Deli and Whole Foods.

V.I.P. soup servers will include Congressman Patrick Murphy, Florida State Representative Patrick Rooney, Jr., West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio, West Palm Beach Commissioner Sylvia Moffett, Palm Beach County Commissioner Hal Valeche, Palm Beach County Food Bank Board Member Tim Gannon and West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Raphael Clemente, among others.

“Empty Bowls Palm Beach County will help continue to raise awareness about hunger in our community,” Palm Beach County Food Bank executive director Perry Borman said in a prepared statement. “We appreciate the tireless work of the volunteers and the great support from the sponsors, artists, restaurants and food purveyors who have been instrumental in this inaugural effort.”

For more information, call 670-2518 x 305 or visit www.pbcfoodbank.org, which provides details about the participating potters and chefs. ¦

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