Monday, July 30, 2012

Hunger: It's a massive and heart-breaking problem in Manatee County

The lucky ones are those able to help the hungry in Manatee County. Herald file photo.

By any measure, homelessness and hunger in Manatee County, and the rest of Florida is almost too heart-breaking and tragic to think about. Except, how can we not?

Florida is home to 10 percent of all homeless families in the United States.

On any given day, there are 58,000 homeless people in the state, according to the Florida Council on Homelessness.

Florida has the third-highest number of homeless people in the country.

Few have gone unscathed during the Great Recession, but for those of us who have been blessed with a roof over our heads, plenty to eat, and a steady paycheck, we are fortunate beyond words.

All that said, the Food Bank of Manatee is seeking help from local businesses for the 12th Annual Empty Bowls benefit, to be held in October.

Empty Bowls is set for Oct. 18  at Renaissance on 9th, 1816 9th St. W., Bradenton, and Oct. 19  at Lakewood Ranch Main Street. Tickets are $20 and will be available for purchase online at, by calling 941-749-0100, or at the door.

Sadly, the number of sponsors for Empty Bowls has declined in recent years.

“A lot of big corporations have cut sponsorship dollars, but local businesses still have the ability to help us make a difference,”   Food Bank Director Cindy Sloan said in a press release.

The Food Bank’s distribution in June was more than its collections, as a result of increasing community need.

Those interested in learning more can call 941-749-0100 or

For more on the Community Coalition on Homelessness, visit:

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