4th Annual Empty Bowls benefits Palm Beach County Food Bank

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By: Jan Engoren Contributing Writer

Tramonti’s pasta fagioli, Harvest Seasonal Grill and Wine Bar’s butternut squash soup, Salt 7s sweet potato and chorizo soup, New York Prime’s shellfish bisque and Henry’s split pea soup were all part of the samplings available at the 4th Annual Delray Beach Empty Bowls benefit, on Dec. 8 at Old School Square.

Empty Bowls, sponsored by the Palm Beach County Food Bank, is a national grassroots event that raises money for hunger relief. They invite the public to “eat simply, so others can simply eat.”

Co-chairs of the event were Stephanie Dodge and Marla Garchik.

The Palm Beach County Food Bank was founded in 2012 to meet the unmet needs of food pantries, soup kitchens and residential housing centers.

The Food Bank procures more than 5 million pounds of food annually from grocery stores, restaurants, food distributors, wholesalers and other sources and provides it to more than 200 local community partners.

Each month they  provide access to nutritious food for more than 100,000 hungry Palm Beach County residents, including children and seniors.

Guests had the opportunity to share in a basic meal of bread provided by Old School Bakery and soup made from 30 local chefs, all served by community leaders. Each guest received a unique bowl to take home as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the community.

“As bakers we came out to feed our community,” said Shelly Himmelrich, partner to Old School Square Bakery owner, Billy Himmelrich.

Billy Himmelrich noted that in Palm Beach County, one in six people is considered food insecure and don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

He highlighted that this year the festival has gone green and more sustainable and is not using plastic water bottles or plastic cups.

“What makes the empty bowls event special is the breadth and depth of the community involvement,” says Palm Beach Food Bank executive director Karen Erren. “Many community leaders and volunteers have stepped up to offer a comprehensive Delray Beach event.”

Out enjoying the soup and the beautiful December weather were Delray Beach residents Carol and Gabe Wong along with neighbor Debbie Lynott, all members of the Delray Beach Sunrise Group, who rise early each morning to view the sun rise in Delray over the ocean.

“It’s for a good cause,” Carol Wong said.

“Plus, we like food,” joked her husband, Gabe Wong.

Lynott was enjoying the roasted chicken and vegetable soup with white beans from Deck 84, which all three agreed was their favorite.

For more information, visit pbcfoodbank.org