Palm Beach Empty Bowls spotlights hunger issues in county

David Rogers
Palm Beach Daily News
February 6, 2016

Palm Beach Empty Bowls spotlights hunger issues in county


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Palm Beach Empty Bowls spotlights hunger issues in county photo
Bradley Hurlburt takes a break to enjoy soup at Empty Bowls Palm Beach at The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea on Friday. The event helped raise money for the Palm Beach County Food Bank.

By David Rogers

Daily News Staff Writer

A bowl of warm soup on a chilly day provides a moment of real comfort.

On Friday, when hundreds of area residents sat down for a bowl of lobster bisque, corn chowder, chili or other soup at The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea, they also were providing comfort to those in need.

Now in its third year, Palm Beach Empty Bowls raises money for the Palm Beach County Food Bank.

The food bank distributes 5 million pounds of food a year to 100 local nonprofits that feed the poor, according to Executive Director Perry Borman.

“In Palm Beach County, over 60 percent of the kids in the public school system qualify for free or reduced (cost) lunch,” Borman said. That means their parents can’t afford to pay for their lunch. “We have about 200,000 residents in Palm Beach County who live at or below the poverty level, so about one out of every six people is what we call ‘food insecure.’ ”

Palm Beachers Sid and Irene Ritman ladled soup at the first station inside the parish hall, alongside other civic leaders. For $25, participants received a cup or two of soup, as well as bread, water and a cookie. They also received a handmade ceramic bowl to take home.

“When we heard about the Food Bank feeding children who go to bed without food, it kind of tore at our hearts,” said Sid Ritman, the event’s honorary chairman.

A few steps away, Judy Testa of Testa’s Restaurant served minestrone to attendees. Testa said she values what the Food Bank is doing.

“It’s so worthwhile,” Testa said, referring to Empty Bowls.