A couple of siblings enjoy their soup served in handmade ceramic bowls.

A couple of siblings enjoy their soup served in handmade ceramic bowls. (Courtesy photo)

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County will host its 17th  Lompoc Empty Bowls fundraiser, Wednesday, July 27 at Dick DeWees Community & Senior Center, 1120 Ocean Ave., with seatings at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Tickets, at $25, are available online at www.FoodbankSBC.org/LEB22; in Lompoc at Chapter 2 Bookstore, 1137 North H St., Ste. Q, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday; and at Vandenberg Village Water District Office, 3745 E. Constellation Road, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Some outdoor seating will be available at the event. Health and safety recommendations in place on July 27 from Santa Barbara County Public Health Department will be observed.

All proceeds will be used to provide healthy groceries, fresh produce, and nutrition education to Lompoc residents who are facing hunger and food insecurity.

Empty Bowls guests will select a unique, hand-painted bowl; enjoy a simple lunch of soup, bread and water; be able to participate in a raffle and silent auction; and purchase custom succulent plantings for $10. Entertainment will include music by DJ Suz and bowl-making demonstrations by Mike McNutt of Allan Hancock College’s ceramics program.

“For me, Empty Bowls began with my employers George and Anna Stillman and Roger McConnell. They teamed up with the Foodbank to bring this event to life in Lompoc. I felt like it was my responsibility to continue it,” said Erika Culwell, Lompoc Empty Bowls host committee chair.

“I believe in the Foodbank’s mission, and the idea that our event can help people within our community is very gratifying,” she said.

“The last Lompoc Empty Bowls was scheduled for March 28, 2020, and was cancelled at the very last minute due to lockdowns that had just been put into place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Anna Boren, Foodbank donor relations supervisor.

“Everything was planned and we were ready to go. We were so disappointed to have to cancel at the last minute,” she said. “That’s why we’re rejoicing so much to gather with the community this summer for Lompoc Empty Bowls.”

Attendees will be able to choose from among hundreds of one-of-a-kind bowls, provided by Allan Hancock College, Santa Ynez Valley Community Outreach (formerly Buellton Senior Center), Lompoc Valley Middle School, and Vandenberg Spouses Club.

The bowls can be used to enjoy the soup of the guest’s choice at the event, and to keep as a reminder of Empty Bowls’ purpose — to raise awareness and funds to serve those in our community who don’t have enough food to eat.

Gourmet soups will be created and donated by local chefs and restaurants including Tom’s Burgers, AJ Spurs, Buellton Rotary, Industrial Eats/Eye on I, Santa Ynez Kitchen, Luca’s, La Botte, and longtime Lompoc resident, the Foodbank’s own Jamie Diggs. Bread will be provide by Albertsons and Walmart in Lompoc.

Celebrity volunteers serving soup will include Santa Barbara County Supervisor Gregg Hart, Lompoc Mayor Jenelle Osborne, and news anchors from KSBY.

Leftover soup from the event will be shared with community members undergoing cancer treatment and their caregivers via a home delivery program of the Santa Ynez Valley Community Outreach.

A community-based raffle and silent auction will feature prizes including handmade artisan creations; food and wines; special experiences; and a quilt made by the late Arlene Cheatham, who was a Lompoc textile artist and supporter of Lompoc Empty Bowls.

Community members wishing to volunteer for Lompoc Empty Bowls (set-up, service, clean-up, etc.) may sign up at www.FoodbankSBC.org/VolunteerNorthCounty or email Kelly Smith at KSmith@FoodbankSBC.org.

The Foodbank thanks sponsors of 2022 Lompoc Empty Bowls: Baroda Farms, Busy Bee’s Organics, Central Coast Agriculture, Scripps Howard Foundation, CenCal Health, CoastHills Credit Union. Rob and Heidi Holdsambeck, Imerys, Mechanics Bank, Union Bank, Wealth Enhancement Group, Allan Hancock College, Assisted Home Health, Starbuck-Lind Mortuary, Sunset Auto Center, Animal Care Hospital, DenMat Corporation, Engen Enterprises (Taco Bell), Barbara and James Raggio, Village Veterinary Clinic, and Wiser Property Management.

The Foodbank is also grateful to the Lompoc Empty Bowls committee: chairperson Erika Culwell, Pam Gnekow, Denise Laliberte, Alice Laufer, Julie Menicucci, and Lisa Schuyler.

For more information, contact the Foodbank at 805-967-5741 ext. 306, or visit visit FoodbankSBC.org.