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14th Annual Empty Bowls Benefit Aims to Feed Lompoc Valley Programs

Foodbank of Santa Barbara County says funds raised from event support local residents facing hunger

Lompoc Empty Bowls served up multiple helpings of gourmet soup on Wednesday to benefit the Foodbank of Santa Barbara  County. Click to view larger
Lompoc Empty Bowls served up multiple helpings of gourmet soup on Wednesday to benefit the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
Assorted hand-crafted bowls sit on a table waiting to be filled up with soup at Empty Bowls in Lompoc on Wednesday. Click to view larger
Assorted hand-crafted bowls sit on a table waiting to be filled up with soup at Empty Bowls in Lompoc on Wednesday. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Gourmet soups served up Wednesday in hand-crafted bowls to hundreds of people in Lompoc will help feed others in the community via the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County programs.

The 14th annual Lompoc Empty Bowls at the Dick DeWees Community & Senior Center featured assorted soups made by local restaurants.

This year’s event lasted from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., an hour longer than in the past, to help ease crowded conditions in the community center due to Empty Bowl’s popularity, organizers said.

“We’re just super grateful for this outpouring of care within the community,” said Judith Smith-Meyer from the Foodbank.

For $25, each attendee could pick a unique ceramic bowl and fill it from the offerings of assorted gourmet soups and bread.

Those who attended could take the bowl home to serve as a reminder about the meal's purpose — raising funds to feed community members facing hunger.

“We serve 57 percent of the residents of Lompoc, so it’s a huge number," Smith-Meyer added. "There’s a huge need, so it’s great to see the community coming out to take care of the people who live here, too. That’s something that’s special about Lompoc is that it's very focused on a high-need area.”

Soups came from a variety of Lompoc eateries and other establishments, with offerings ranging from split pea and ham to chicken posole, matzoh ball and Swiss potato soup.

In fiscal year 2017, more than 25,000 people in Lompoc received 1.3 million pounds of food via the the Foodbank’s nearly 35 nonprofit community partners and direct-to-participant programs. 

The Foodbank’s weekly healthy food access center, Alta Cena Sana, hosted cooking demonstrations, group fitness classes, nutrition education and presentations in addition to doling out healthy groceries and fresh produce. 

Additionally, 220 very low-income seniors participate in the Foodbank’s twice-monthly Brown Bag programs at three sites in Lompoc. 

Hundreds of people fill the Dick DeWees Community and Senior Center in Lompoc for Empty Bowls to benefit the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County on Wednesday. Click to view larger
Hundreds of people fill the Dick DeWees Community and Senior Center in Lompoc for Empty Bowls to benefit the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County on Wednesday. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

The organization also supplies 100 children with nutritiion and cooking education along with recipes and fresh produce through monthly Kids’ Farmers Markets. 

The Foodbank also hosts an Empty Bowls benefit in the Santa Maria Valley each October and in the Santa Barbara area each November.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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