SANTA MARIA, Calif. – The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is holding one of its biggest fundraisers today, Empty Bowls Santa Maria, when community members come out for soup served in a hand-crafted bowls that they get to take home.

The bowls come from a number of schools and local potters, but most come from Allan Hancock College, where Bob Nichols is an art professor. He’s been teaching the craft there for nearly 30 years.  We learned that heart and soul goes into every piece, from the potter’s wheel to the kiln.

“It’ll take from seven to 20 days from start to finish on a piece, depends a lot on timing,” Nichols said.

That’s one of the reasons why the Foodbank of Santa Barbara county prides itself on the annual event. In fact, Bob’s students donate at least 200 bowls to the cause every year. It gives people who show up to the fundraiser a good time!

“That’s always the main thing they ask – what about the bowls, where they’re coming from,” said Judith Monte, Development Manager with the Foodbank. “They’re excited when they find out they get to take a bowl home with them.”

“I invite them to care deeply about the work that they make, and then to get a response of someone, you know, turning it over, picking it up, and eventually purchasing it, is an affirmation of all that they do, is simply huge,” said Nichols.

But it’s not just about the beautiful tableware. The event is called “Empty Bowls” for a reason.

“We need to fill the bowl. every single day there are thousands and thousands, tens of thousands of people throughout our community that are at risk of not having enough food,” Monte said.

That’s why year after year, the wheel keeps spinning.

“Philosophically, this is a win, win, win situation as far as I can tell,” Nichols said. “Not only does the Foodbank magnify the value of each dollar they make in the process, but the students get to see themselves as participants in a valuable social exercise and the students learning and developing techniques.”

Local potters and high schools also donate bowls for the event.  It’s at the Santa Maria Fairpark from 11:30am to 1:30pm. The KCOY-12 Morning Team will be there serving soup!

Copyright © 2015 NPG of California, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.