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Santa Maria Empty Bowls Helps Fill the Coffers for Foodbank of Santa Barbara County

Hundreds of hungry attendees feast on soup provided by local restaurants; the Santa Barbara Empty Bowls fundraiser is set for Nov. 2

Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rogelio Flores ladled bacon cheddar beer soup, using his best courtroom voice to lure hungry attendees with empty bowls needing to be filled.

Nearby, TV news anchor Jeannette Trompeter touted the healthier, although less enticing, chicken noodle soup, telling attendees, “It cures what ails you.”

Flores and Trompeter were two of the soup servers at the 13th annual Santa Maria Empty Bowls event Wednesday.

The fundraiser for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County took place at the Santa Maria Fairpark, where this marked the first time the Santa Maria event has held two seatings for attendees.

“It’s been a wonderful event,” said Judith Monte, North County development manager for the Foodbank, noting the varied sectors of the community to show up at the event.

In addition to community leaders and elected officials, those who attended included groups of office workers and parents with children, showing the broad support for the Foodbank, Monte said.

Organizers expected to serve 800 people during the two seatings, with the first at 11:30 a.m. and the second at 12:30 p.m. Soups came from various restaurants in the Santa Maria Valley.

The two serving sessions aimed to address long waiting lines attendees encountered at previous Empty Bowls benefits in Santa Maria, according to Monte.

“We tried to make sure the second seating has the same experience,” Monte said, adding that the soups and bowls matched those of the first hour.

Bowls came from a variety of sources, but Monte said that Allan Hancock College contributed a record number this year.

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Empty Bowls attendees get bowls filled with soup served by Judge Rogelio Flores. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

For a donation of $25, attendees selected a hand-crafted ceramic bowl, enjoyed a meal of gourmet soup and bread, and took home the bowl as a reminder of the event’s purpose: to help feed wholesome and hearty food to needy people in the community.

The Foodbank served 60,000 in the Santa Maria Valley last year, Monte said, adding, “That’s a lot of people.”

Because of the drought, the nonprofit organization had to pay $200,000 more to purchase food for its clients this year, Monte said.

Wednesday’s event was one of three held annually to benefit the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. 

The 17th annual Santa Barbara Empty Bowls is set for Nov. 2 at the Page Youth Center, 4540 Hollister Ave., with three seating times of 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m.  Tickets can be purchased for $31 per person by clicking here.

For more information, sponsorship or raffle details, contact events manager Diane Durst at 805.967.5741 x104.

Lompoc’s Empty Bowls fundraiser is held on the fourth Wednesday of March each year. 

The Foodbank also is poised to launch its Thanksgiving turkey drive on Nov. 1.

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.

Empty Bowls
Savannah, left, and Dana Moody make their selections from a variety of handcrafted ceramic bowls at the Empty Bowls fundraiser on Wednesday. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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