By Amy Woods
More than 130,000 local households experience food insecurity — not knowing where one’s next meal or meals will be sourced — according to the Palm Beach County Food Bank.
The large nonprofit that distributes 13 million pounds of food to the needy each year serves not only those 130,000-plus but also 70,000 additional neighbors facing hunger.
“Palm Beach County is one of the richest counties in the nation, and at the same time we have this food disparity,” said John Brewer, event chairman of Empty Bowls Delray Beach, a fundraiser for the food bank. “The main thing is to get more people aware and more people involved and to understand that this is a problem in our backyard.”
Set for Dec. 9, Empty Bowls Delray Beach invites attendees to enjoy a wide variety of soups from area restaurants, freshly made breads from Old School Bakery and bottled waters. The theme of the three-hour affair is to “eat simply so others may simply eat.”
“It’s a great day of friendship and fellowship for a good cause,” Brewer said. “If everybody gives a little bit, it really can make an impact.”
In its eighth year, Empty Bowls Delray Beach will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Trinity Delray. Handcrafted bowls will be available for purchase, and music and entertainment will take place as aproned volunteers ladle out the hot stuff for guests.
“It’s such an amazing event and a way to bring the community together,” said Diane Brewer, John Brewer’s wife and event chairwoman. “Unfortunately, with inflation and everything else that is going on — I even balk at some of the prices at Publix when I go shopping — I can’t imagine what it’s like to feed a house full of kids on a limited income.”
The Palm Beach County Food Bank houses food in a 28,000-square-foot building in Lake Worth Beach. The distributions are made possible by nearly 200 partner agencies. Food pantries, soup kitchens and housing programs work to connect families and the elderly population with products procured from farmers, stores and wholesalers that include culturally appropriate food.
Jamie Kendall, the food bank’s CEO, explains the last bit: “It means serving a variety of neighbors from many different backgrounds and ethnicities and holding space for the cultural practices around the preparation and consumption of the food.”
As Hanukkah and Christmas approach, the issue of food insecurity becomes that much more apparent, Kendall said.
“The holiday season can come with stress for a lot of families,” she said. “It’s up to us and Empty Bowls participants to ensure they have a holiday meal to put on the table and that they are nourished going into the new year.”
If You Go
What: Empty Bowls Delray Beach
When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 9
Where: Trinity Delray, 400 N. Swinton Ave.
Information: 561-670-2518 or pbcfoodbank.org