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Manatee Food Bank fundraiser Thursday and Friday

Going out for lunch today or Friday?

If so, here's a delicious deal and a way to help the community's needy for your consideration.

Empty Bowls, the annual luncheons to benefit The Food Bank of Manatee, will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at Renaissance on 9th, 1816 Ninth St. W., and Friday at 8131 Main Street, Lakewood Ranch.

Empty Bowls is the primary fundraiser of the year for The Food Bank of Manatee and 100 percent of the proceeds stay local. The event is a way to help restock the agency's shelves.

For this casual luncheon, area restaurants, local businesses and talented potters all contribute to help fight hunger in Manatee County. Tickets are $20 apiece and include a unique ceramic bowl to keep, a selection of soups and fresh bread from Publix.

The simple meal of soup and bread is symbolic of the hunger struggle in our community.

The 2012 restaurant participants include:

n The 9th Street Bistro.

n Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club.

n Rosedale Golf & Country Club.

n Tara Golf & Country Club.

n The Broken Egg at Lakewood Ranch.

n Truman's Tap & Grill.

n Renaissance on 9th Catering.

n Sweet Tomatoes, Bradenton.

n Publix Apron's Cooking School.

n Carmen's Italian Café,

n Keiser University.

n ACF Sarasota Bay Chef's Association.

n Panera Bread Co., University Parkway.

n Panera Bread Co., Cortez Road.

n Ortygia.

n Popi's Place Too, III, IV, V, VI.

Tickets may be purchased online at, by calling 941-749-0100, or at the door.

Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7055. Twitter: @vinmannix