Putnam Given First "Champion Award"
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam received the first "Champion Award" for fighting hunger in Polk, Hardee and Highlands counties, at the Empty Bowls gala.
The award was presented by The Most Rev. John Noonan, Bishop of Orlando, and Joseph Buranosky, executive director of Catholic Charities of Central Florida.
In his remarks to the audience of nearly 200 people, Commissioner Putnam described hunger as a solvable problem. He spoke of the strength of Florida's agriculture industry, and the importance of using fresh, state-grown fruits andvegetables to address the issue. Edible produce should not go to waste simply because a blemish might make it unmarketable, he said.
That's the same message being promoted by the Florida Association of Food Banks, through its "Farmers Feeding Florida" inititative.
Bonnie Parker, city president of SunTrust Bank's Winter Haven area operations, was mistress of ceremonies for Empty Bowls, while Don Kincaid of Higgenbotham Auctioneers handled the bidding on bowls.
The fundraiser was held Feb. 1, 2013 at the Magnolia Building in downtown Lakeland.
The high bid of the evening was on a ceramic bowl featuring a bold landscape, painted by "Highwayman" artist Robert Butler of Lakeland, who attended the fundraiser with his wife.
Morgan Bow of Florida Southern College's Alpha Chi Omega sorority displays the bowl from Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. Alpha Chi Omega provided a team of volunteers for the Feb. 1 fundraiser. To see more of the donated bowls, please visit Facebook: Catholic Charities of Central Florida Western Region.