Hillary Duff sets example in WPB

Reporter Lindsay Cohen

She's one of the top-earning entertainers under 25 years old.

She's a familiar face to teens and 'tweens everywhere.

And on Thursday night, she left the Disney Channel behind to help feed the homeless in downtown West Palm Beach.

"I love Florida and doing stuff like this is really important," said Hilary Duff.

The singer and actress is probably best known for her role on Lizze McGuire on the Disney Channel. In recent years, Duff, 20, has lent her time to hunger-fighting charities across the country. She was brought to town on Thursday with the help of several local organizations, including Palm Beach Harvest.

"It's cool to come out and help," she said. "These people are my age, and they're out here helping weekly so, get out there and do something with your friends."

Duff may not have realized she was was touching upon some local controversy.

One of the groups she was with, Art + Compassion, is suing West Palm Beach, after the city passed a ban on feeding the homeless last year.

On Thursday evening, though, with a steady drizzle coming down, Duff donned plastic gloves, handed out plates filled with food, and posed for pictures with fans, young and old.

"It's amazing to see the people that come out two, three times a week, you know, to feed these people, [and] the compassion that they have for them. Instead of turning it down and ignoring the problem, they are just welcoming it and feeding these people and donating their time," Duff said.

Earlier in the day Duff visited an elementary school in Boca Raton to help launch "Blessings in a Backpack" there. The program helps provide nutritional meals for schoolchildren over weekends.