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On several Friday mornings each month, rain or shine, the Bridge Christian Outreach distributes food to those in need in Jensen Beach.

The volunteers work together in harmony — happily conversing with the recipients of their benevolence — spreading joy and goodwill throughout the community.

The members of Martin County’s Bridge Christian Outreach Ministry work tirelessly to span the gap separating people facing food insecurity from those who want to help.

To bolster those bridges, the Outreach Ministry presents the second annual Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Gala, an evening of fine foods, festivities and friendship on Saturday, Nov. 14, from 5 to 9 p.m., at the Pittenger Center in Stuart.

Enjoy an open bar, a buffet featuring domestic and imported cheese stations, an assortment of fruit, penne pasta with a choice of basil pesto sauce or spicy aribiatta sauce and fresh meatballs, Caesar salad with homemade garlic croutons, smoky pulled pork sliders and a dessert station with a chocolate fountain.

An array of heavy hors d’oeuvres, prepared and donated by A Culinary Caper, will also be served.

Place a bid on one of the dozens of sensational silent auction items, collectively valued at close to $20,000.

Included among the prizes: a private wine tasting for 20 people; a golf foursome (carts included) at Willoughby Golf Club; a golf foursome and lunch at Harbour Ridge Yacht & Country Club; Chef’s Choice dinner for four at the Gafford; four one-day park hopper passes to Disney World; and so much more.

The sounds of local pianist Richard Swentzell will resonate throughout the center, along with a special performance by Kelli Maguire Sportiello, veteran cruise ship entertainer and star of the recent off-Broadway musical production, “National Pastime.”

What began many years ago as a simple mission to feed the bodies and souls of the homeless living beneath the Jensen Beach Bridge has since blossomed into the Bridge Christian Outreach Ministry.

Led by Rev. Jerry Herald, the ministry includes Bridge Outreach Pantry, Christian Outreach, Benevolence and Youth Services.

Proceeds from the gala will especially benefit the Bridge Christian Outreach Food Pantry which is open on the first, second and fourth Friday of each month, 9 – 10:30 a.m., at the Jensen Beach Bowling Alley parking lot in Rio.

Proof of income is not required, as the program is based on a system of honor and dignity, providing people in genuine need with a week’s worth of groceries, diapers and wipes, home delivery of meals if necessary and spiritual counseling upon request.

Currently, more than 200 families are helped each week.

Rev. Jerry says, “The truth is, we find ourselves most fulfilled when helping and offering hope to others.”

To purchase tickets to the gala please contact Blee Picciano at 772-208-0150 or or visit Tickets are $50. Receive a free ticket by filling a table of 10.



A Fundraiser To Help Bridge Gaps

Maryann Skarbowski, BCO Food Pantry Volunteer Candy Wilson and Barbie Bartley

Event Co-Chairs Blee Picciano and Jeannie Boyle with Pastor Jerry Herald

Gloria Swanson and Tuck Aaker

Guest Speaker Alexa Lowman and daughter Rachel with Emcee Michael Williams

John & Karon Scionti, Ruth & John Crupi

The Pittenger Center in Stuart was full of hungry people last Saturday, craving for a way to help others and a taste of gourmet treats from Chef Carla O’Donnell and A Culinary Caper.

At the Bridge Christian Outreach’s 2nd Annual Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Gala, both of these needs were satisfied.

Guests were presented with hors d’oeuvres, an assortment of salads, cheeses, pasta and carved meats.

Dessert brought chocolate, cannoli, cookies and so much more.

A variety of thirst quenching libations were also on hand.

All the money went to benefit the nonprofit’s food pantry, benevolence ministry and youth services.

The evening’s guest speaker, Alexa Lowman, shared her experience with Bridge Christian Outreach.

“They embraced me and my daughter,” said Lowman. “Because of health issues, I missed work. They helped me, not only with transportation, but with childcare, groceries and rent. An individual member bought my daughter a pair of new school shoes. They are our family and we feel very blessed to have them in our lives.”

Join the Outreach on Feb. 21 as they host the annual Tea Party at the Holiday Out in Jensen Beach.

For more info call 772-222-7120