Special Reports

Braden River’s Empty Bowls help fill stomachs

EAST MANATEE — Mike and Marie Marshall of Lakewood Ranch looked on proudly as their sons, Logan and Nate, helped host Braden River Middle School’s 10th Annual Empty Bowls Luncheon.

The fundraiser was expected to raise about $800 Thursday for Our Daily Bread soup kitchen at 701 17th Ave. W., Bradenton, said Janice Pinsonneault, the school’s Honor Society adviser.

“We have been trying to teach them that no matter what level you reach in life, there are people who can use your help,” Mike Marshall said of his twins. “I hope they remember that because those needy people could one day be their mom and dad.”

Logan and Nate were among 45 members of the school’s National Junior Honor Society who served soup and bread to family and guests in the school’s multi-purpose room.

The Honor Society students wore blue shirts inscribed with the words: character, scholarship, leadership, service, citizenship.

The students crafted clay bowls which guests took home with them.

As he has done for the last eight years, Robert Eikill, the administrator for Our Daily Bread, attended the event.

“I think these students did great,” Eikill said. “We have a $200,000 yearly budget and the money we get from events like this amounts to 10 percent of that budget.”

The need is increasing, Eikill said.

This year, Our Daily Bread will serve 85,000 meals, Eikill said.

Last year the kitchen served 80,000. In 2004, the number of meals was 50,000.

“The more we need, the more God seems to provide for us,” Eikill said.

This year, donations have been down, but a benefactor died and left money that bridged the gap, Eikill said.

Eikill also praised the Manatee school board for serving breakfast to needy students, which has taken some of the burden off Our Daily Bread.

In her speech, Honor Society treasurer Nadia Sandhu told the crowd that Our Daily Bread started in 1984 with a mission to feed the poor and needy of the community with compassion and affirmation of their human worth.

Alexandra Bobelis, Honor Society secretary, told a story whose moral was that everyone who is not hungry needs to feed their fellow humans who are.

Erick Weinstein, Honor Society president, researched world hunger prior to the event.

“Every 3.6 seconds someone in the world dies of hunger,” Erick said in his speech. “In the world, 1.02 billion are hungry and one in six does not have enough food to be healthy.”

Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 748-0411, ext. 6686.