By the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County
More than 350 members of the Lompoc and surrounding communities came out to support the annual Foodbank of Santa Barbara County Empty Bowls Fundraiser. The Foodbank’s Donor Services Supervisor, Anna Boren reports that between ticket sales, sponsorships, raffle ticket sales, silent auction, and succulent plant sales, the Foodbank met its goal of $50,000.
Erika Culwell, who has served as the event’s Committee Chair for the past four years says she was overwhelmed by the response. “We couldn’t have the event in 2020 and 2021 and it actually gave me anxiety because I was like, where is the money going to come from to help feed our people? We were able to do this again in 2022. Today, I am so relieved that our community continues to come out and support it year after year.”
Guests lined up early to attend the luncheon with the first of two seating times at 11:30 am, followed by a second seating at 12:30 pm. One of the highlights of the event is the selection process of choosing a one-of-a-kind hand-crafted bowl from a diverse selection. Many of the bowls were glazed by the art students at Lompoc Valley Middle School. Lompoc residents also made bowls at Bowl Painting Parties hosted by the Foodbank. Each guest takes their beautiful bowl home as a reminder of Empty Bowls’ purpose – to provide food for our neighbors facing food insecurity.
Guests slurped up a delightful variety of eleven gourmet soups ladled out by chefs from various restaurants and kitchens between Lompoc and Santa Ynez. Soups included clam chowder, tomato bisque, steak and potato, split pea, minestrone, and more.
Participating restaurants included: Alfie’s Fish and Chips, American Host, Glaze’s BBQ, Lompoc Valley Medical Center, Mi Amore, Old Town Kitchen & Bar, Santa Ynez Valley Community Outreach, Tom’s Burgers, Wild West Pizza, and more.
All proceeds raised from the event will go right back to supporting the Lompoc community to provide fresh produce and nutrition education to Lompoc residents facing food insecurity. The next Empty Bowls fundraiser will take place in Santa Maria on October 18.
In 2022, the Foodbank distributed 1,036,076 pounds of food to 18,569 unduplicated individuals within the Lompoc community, through 20 programs by non-profit and faith-based partners, in addition to our own direct-to-client programs.
The Foodbank is grateful to the following Sponsors of the 2023 Lompoc Empty Bowls: Baroda Farms, Gul, Imerys, CoastHills Community Foundation, Maureen Tolson, Mechanics Bank, ExxonMobil, CenCal Health, Allan Hancock College, RARE Electric, Starbuck-Lind Mortuary, Wealth Enhancement Group, Santa Barbara Foundation, the Holdsambeck Family, Engen Enterprises, Village Veterinary Clinic and James Raggio.
The Foodbank is grateful to the Lompoc Empty Bowls Committee, which has worked tirelessly for several months to make this event possible: Chairperson Erika Culwell, Pam Gnekow, Denise Laliberte, Alice Laufer, Julie Menicucci, Leslie Sherrill, Yvette Cope, Kirsten Chipps, Michele Hunt, Ann Card, Patricia French, Amy McCounnaughey, Ann Ladwig, Sarah Gunter, Eileen Geraci and Cristina Ortega.
About the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County
The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County transforms hunger into health through good nutrition and food literacy. The Foodbank provides nourishment and education through a network of more than 200 partner agencies, nutrition education programs and food distribution sites. In Santa Barbara County, one in four people receive support from the Foodbank – 38% of the individuals we serve are children.
For more information, please visit FoodbankSBC.org or contact the Foodbank at (805) 967-5741 ext. 306.