Right about now, most of us are picking out the perfect Christmas tree, stringing up lights and hitting Amazon hard for online Christmas presents. The holidays are welcome distraction in an unending year of quarantines and masks and a mounting death toll from the deadly Coronavirus.
But a happy distraction is just a pipe dream for many in Palm Beach County, one in six to be exact. This year, more than 60 percent of schoolchildren qualify for a free or reduced lunch. A full 16 percent or more of Palm Beach Country residents do not know where their next meal will come from; more than 190,000 of us here depend on federal food assistance to get by day to day.
The Palm Beach County Food bank is one of the local organizations that is trying to help during a year when the need has never been greater. And you can, too, by driving through its annual Empty Bowls event this Saturday at Trinity Lutheran Church in Delray Beach. Empty Bowls is a popular event every year, attracting 1,000 people annually to make a donation in exchange for a bowls of soup offered by area restaurants under the idea that you can “eat simply, so others can simply eat.” Guests share in a basic meal of fresh baked bread from Old School Bakery, signature soups donated from 30 local chefs, and water, all served by area celebrities at the drive-through pickup.
The virtual portion of the event will include powerful client and agency stories, messages from the Empty Bowls’ chairs and sponsors, as well as an overview of the Food Bank and the state of hunger in Palm Beach County.
“Before COVID-19, the Palm Beach County Food Bank provided access to nutritious food for more than 100,000 hungry Palm Beach County residents every month and distributed approximately 5 million pounds of food annually to almost 200 local community partners,” says event chair and Delray resident Stephanie Dodge. “Now, that demand has more than doubled as more people are left without jobs and income and the Food Bank is processing as much as several million pounds a month.”
To date, restaurants and venues serving their signature soups include Artistic Artichoke, Henry’s Restaurant, New York Grilled Cheese, Luna Rosa, Over The Bridge Café, Bedner’s Farm Fresh Markets, Woodfield Country Club, Silver Sac Catering, Chez Gourmet, Riggins Crabhouse, Tramonti and Space of Mind.
Servers include Margaret and Dr. Robert Blume, Ernest Deblasi, Stephanie Dodge, Carol Eaton, Marla and Steve Garchik, Jim Greco, Pam and Chuck Halberg, Shelly and Billy Himmelrich, Barbara James and Mark Larkin, Julia and Jeff Kadel, Bill Kramer, Marti LaTour and George Elmore, Cordella and Rick Miessau, Jacqui Moroco, Tim Quinn, Laura Reiss, Matt Shipley, Kimberly Still, Diana and Bob Stone, Jamie Wagner and Kelly and Wyn Yelin.
Yes, the holidays are here. Make them count by helping others eat. We’ll see you there.
Here are the details:
• When & Where: Saturday, December 5, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church & School, 400 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach
• Tickets: Due to social distancing and safety precautions, guests need to purchase tickets online for the drive-through pickup. Tickets are $30 per order or $50 for two orders. Each order provides one pint of soup with bread from Old School Bakery, as well as other sponsored goodies in an insulated cooler bag. To purchase your Empty Bowls tickets, please visit: pbcfoodbank.org/emptybowlsdelray.