Santa Maria Empty Bowls event dishes out handmade bowls and gourmet soups.

Santa Maria Empty Bowls event dishes out handmade bowls and gourmet soups. (Courtesy photo)

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County will host Santa Maria Empty Bowls, an annual community celebration, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3 at Santa Maria Fairpark, 937 S. Thornburg. The event is designed to raise awareness and funds to provide healthy groceries and fresh produce for those facing hunger in the Santa Maria Valley.

To ensure community safety, Empty Bowls will be held in drive-through format. Attendees will receive a pre-selected, handmade bowl and heat-and-serve gourmet soup to enjoy at home or work.

Tickets are $25 each, for time slots on the hour and half hour, and may be purchased at Ten-ticket party packs are available for $250.

The Foodbank will deliver to any single address in Santa Maria a pack of (multiples of) 10 handmade bowls and 10 servings of heat-and-serve soup. Those who choose the party pack option will be able to select what type of soup(s) they receive. Foodbank team members will reach out in the days prior to the event to take soup orders for party pack delivery.

Gourmet soup donors include members of the Allan Hancock College Culinary Arts Program, Cielito Lindo, Jack’s in Orcutt, Moxie Café (tri-tip chili), Olive Garden, Santa Maria Inn (albondigas), Splash Café (clam chowder), Testa Catering (creamy ginger carrot), VTC Enterprises (southwest pumpkin), and Zoe’s Hawaiian BBQ (chicken tortilla). Attendees can make soup selections when they arrive.

Hand-painted bowls are being provided by community members from Oasis Senior Center, Righetti, St. Joseph’s and Orcutt Academy high schools, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Mid Central Coast, and by Foodbank and Empty Bowls champion Shirley Hinzo and friends – the Jimenez family, Samantha and Sara Plemmans, Jade and Melissa Reyes, Chris Shuman, artists from Fesler Junior High School and the Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department, and Vandenberg Spouses Club.

Hundreds of handmade ceramic bowls also will be provided by the Allan Hancock College ceramics program, Sue Southern and Ben Trogdon.

Empty Bowls supporters can participate in a free virtual photo booth. Selfie frames and an Empty Bowls photo album will be available courtesy of That One Photobooth and owner/founder Vanessa Grossman, who is also a long-time member of the planning committee for Santa Maria Empty Bowls.

Community members can text soup-selfies to 805-321-1654, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 3 and receive their framed photo back by text. All event photos will be available Nov. 4 on That One Photobooth’s website.

While soup bowls will be pre-selected at random by Foodbank staff the day of the Empty Bowls event, community members who want to trade in the bowls they receive for ones they choose themselves can do so on Nov. 4, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Foodbank’s Santa Maria warehouse, 490 W. Foster Road. No appointment is needed.

Santa Maria Empty Bowls 2021 host committee members include chair Carol Torres, Patsy Aguirre, Maggi Daane, Donna Denham, Vanessa Grossman, Ron Lovell, and Elizabeth Sanchez, who also serves on the Foodbank Board of Trustees.

The Foodbank thanks the following sponsors of Santa Maria Empty Bowls: Pacific Premier Bank, Farm Credit West, Hardy Diagnostics, Atlas Copco, Dignity Health Marian Medical Foundation, Mechanics Banks, Pea King Produce, CenCal Health, Allan Hancock College, Bethel Lutheran Church, and Grower-Shipper Association of Central California.

Email questions about Santa Maria Empty Bowls 2021 to Anna Boren, For more about the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, visit