ralph_campbell_web.jpgFORT LAUDERDALE — It was a lunch with a difference when more than 100 community leaders gathered recently at the First Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale. They ate soup and bread to symbolize the plight of the more than 200,000 people in Broward County who, organizers said, go hungry every day.


The first Empty Bowls Luncheon, sponsored by McKinley Insurance Services, sought to raise awareness of the need to provide balanced lunches during the summer break for the students who receive free meals during the school year.
Marti Forman, founder of the Cooperative Feeding Program – now called LifeNet4Families – was honored during the event with the organization’s first Lifetime Achievement Award.

She was recognized for “her dedication and advocacy for the homeless and people of poverty,” said Russell Martin, CEO of LifeNet.  “She continues to be a strong and recognized voice for civil justice.”

Since 1985, LifeNet4Families has been helping individuals and families in poverty by providing food, ancillary services and referrals.  Its vision is to provide nutritious food, information and referrals with compassion and caring.

Sponsors of the Empty Bowls event included Joe Picasso’s, Whole Foods, Jarden Consumer Solutions, Sculpting Lives, Mayco, and Creative Design, in addition to McKinley Insurance which is based in Fort Lauderdale, with offices in Miami and Orlando.

“At McKinley, we believe in this event so much we’ve made a corporate commitment to ensure it continues to grow and prosper in the years to come,” said Ralph Campbell, McKinley’s president and CEO.  “We are honored to be a part of the mission to care for our fellow citizens in need.”

Chefs who donated their time and recipes for the luncheon included Andy Cagnetta, the creator of Andy’s Pasta Dinner, which has raised more than $180,000 for the organization over the past nine years; Sean Frampton; Kathy Kautz, of First Presbyterian Church TLC Soup Ministry;  and LifeNet’s Chef Dennise.

For more information, call 954-629-7381 or e-mail Scott.Woodburn@LifeNet4Families.org or visit www.lifenet4families.org.

Photo by: MELANIE BELL/MCKINLEY INSURANCE

Ralph Campbell, president and CEO of McKinley Insurance Services.