Annual benefit helps boost funds for Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, which has seen a recent 30-percent increase in demand for food assistance
An assortment of colorful empty bowls and a variety of locally-made soups greeted a large crowd for Empty Bowls of Lompoc on Wednesday.
Local restaurants made assorted soups served in colorfully hand-painted bowls in a benefit for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.
An overflow crowd spilled out of the center and onto the patio.
“I’m pretty confident that our attendance is up this year,” said Judith Monte, development manager. “Everything about this year is bigger and better.”
The Dick DeWees Community & Senior Center hosted the event where attendees purchased a $25 ticket in return for the chance to help end hunger insecurity in Lompoc.
This year’s event gained new soup donors and new sponsors, Monte said.
From July 2014 through June 2015, the Foodbank distributed more than 1 million pounds of food to 17,319 unduplicated individuals through 34 programs run by nonprofit and faith-based partnerships. The number includes the Foodbank’s own direct-to-client programs.
That amount of food provided reflects an increase of approximately 30 percent in the community, Monte said.
“It really is a community collaboration to address a community need,” she said.
In addition to soups such as albondigas, cauliflower, broccoli cheese and vegetable, attendees were served bread and water.
At the event, Sam McIlraith from the Foodbank asked attendees to complete the sentence, “I fill this bowl …” as part of a social media campaign to remind people about hunger in the community. Attendees then posed for picture with their sentence written on the small white board.
A volunteer shared, “I fill this bowl because I’m lucky to have food on the table every day and hope others will as well.”
Empty Bowls of Santa Maria occurs in October, while Santa Barbara’s is held in November.