According to statistics provided by the Hunger Action Network New York State from Feeding America: Map the Meal Gap, there are nearly 20,000 people in Ulster County who are considered “food insecure.” The figure for Dutchess County far exceeds that. Our greater upstate communities, so wealthy in talent and culture and natural beauty, are in certain crucial ways and for inexplicable reasons undernourished. While the Hunger Action Network has secured an increase in state funding and was granted $500,000 for emergency food providers this year, the need for basic provisions is still dire in our area.
Empty Bowls is a benefit held annually to raise funds and awareness to address this gap and end hunger in New York. Locally, the Maple Ridge Bruderhof has stepped up to host the fundraiser this summer, to be held at its Ulster Park Community on Saturday, July 30. From 2 to 5 p.m., guests can enjoy a buffet of homemade hot and cold soups, fresh salads made with homegrown produce, baked breads and a delicious grilled variety. The suggested donation is $25, which includes a take-home bowl, handcrafted by the kids at the Bruderhof. These simple, unique bowls serve as both souvenir and reminder: There are neighbors who do not have enough to eat on a regular basis.
Indeed, the persistence of hunger across America is hard to fathom if you’re one of the well-fed. It’s a complicated situation. Any organization committed to addressing the problem must not only feed people directly through food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters, but also must work to solve the issues that contribute to hunger, homelessness and poverty – primarily by expanding school breakfast programs and funding for Meals on Wheels for seniors, and most importantly, developing access to education and job training for low-income citizens.
It’s reported that summertime is the “hungriest time of year for kids.” On a year-round basis, children make up a large portion of that statistic, but when school’s out, many don’t get regular meals each day. This is the perfect time, the perfect season to donate and participate in alleviating hunger. All funds raised at Empty Bowls go to helping people in our area. Make a difference. Come eat your fill and shop for other handcrafted items. Put a small dent in a big problem. For more information about the Hunger Action Network, visit www.hungeractionnys.org or call (518) 434-7371.
Empty Bowls Fundraiser, Saturday, July 30, 2-5 p.m., $25, Maple Ridge Bruderhof, 10 Hellbrook Lane, Ulster Park; (845) 339-6680, www.bruderhof.com/en/events/united-states/maple-ridge/empty-bowls.