Saturday, December 16 , 2017, 3:13 am | Smoke 54º


Foodbank of Santa Barbara County Celebrates 20 Years of Filling ‘Empty Bowls’

Hundreds of supporters pull up a chair and feast on gourmet soup from handmade ceramics during three seatings at the annual fundraiser


The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County hosted its 20th annual Empty Bowls fundraiser on Sunday at the Page Youth Center.

The event not only has endured, it has expanded to other cities, has been duplicated by other organizations seeking to feed the needy, and now accommodates the many hundreds of attendees in three seatings during the event day.

For a modest donation, guests select a beautiful handmade bowl created by a local artist that is then filled with gourmet soup enjoyed with a slice of fresh bread. Guests can take home the bowl as a reminder of the meal’s purpose to help feed the hungry in the community.

“We’re always delighted to see the hundreds of supporters who join us to ‘fill the bowl’ and raise critical funds to support the Foodbank, which serves one in four individuals in the county through our 300 programs and partners annually,” said Erik Talkin, CEO of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. “We’re especially honored this year to celebrate two decades of the beloved Empty Bowls tradition with the loyal support of local artists, ceramicists, restaurants and volunteers who help move Santa Barbara from hunger into health.”

Making remarks and giving instructions from the podium stage was Danyel Dean, who created the idea for this unique fundraiser 20 years ago.

“Empty Bowls provides an opportunity for many levels of giving: student and professional ceramics artists, our best restaurants, raffle donors, sponsorships from businesses and individuals, hundreds of smiling volunteers, along with our loyal participants,” said Dean, the 20-year committee chair. “Empty Bowls has raised close to $2 million, providing nearly 16 million meals.”

Longtime volunteer Nancy Krug told Noozhawk, “I am one of six event committee members who have served on the Empty Bowls committee for all 20 years. It is a wonderful thing for our community.”

Volunteer Sarah Hannah, left, and 20-year volunteer Nancy Krug.
Volunteer Sarah Hannah, left, and 20-year volunteer Nancy Krug. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

After lunch, some Empty Bowls guests took a tour of the Foodbank warehouse next door to the center before enjoying a cookie and coffee donated by The French Press.

Soups and breads for Empty Bowls in 2017 were donated by Benchmark Eatery, Bouchon, Ca’ Dario, Camino Real Marketplace Costco, Downey’s, Flagstone Pantry, Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore, Fresco Café, Helena Avenue Bakery, Louie’s at the Upham, Lucky’s Steakhouse, Max’s Restaurant & Cucina, The Nugget Downtown, Olio e Limone Ristorante, Opal, San Ysidro Ranch, The Secret Ingredient, Sly’s, Stella Mare’s, Toma Restaurant & Bar, Hove’s Loaves and The Black Sheep.

Sponsors included The Wood-Claeyssens Foundation, Deckers Brands, the Tomchin Family Charitable Trust, Maryan Schall, Mary Dee Thompson, Frank Schipper Construction, Angela Moloney Braverman, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Carolyn and Philip Wyatt, the Ford family, Montecito Bank & Trust, Aera Energy, the Cyndee Howard family, The Towbes Foundation, Rabobank, Union Bank, the Jack Tiethof family, Sara Miller McCune, HUB International, Danyel Dean and Peter Castellanos, Susan Rose and Allan Ghitterman, Sue and J. W. Colin, Leon and Elizabeth Olson, Jeff and Susan Bridges, NS Ceramic, Green Hills Software, CenCal Health, Peggy and Bryant Shoemaker, Matt and Kerry Ellison, and many others.

Click here for more information about the Foodbank, or call 805.967.5741 x101 or contact Judith Smith Meyer at [email protected].

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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