March 30 – Lompoc Empty Bowls Serves Hundreds to Help Feed Hungry


Soups of all kinds were served — and promptly gobbled up — Wednesday in Lompoc at a key fundraiser for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

Judith Monte, Foodbank development manager, estimated late Wednesday afternoon that the 11th annual Lompoc Empty Bowls event served between 400 and 450 people in addition to volunteers, putting it on par with past events.

This marked the second year the event occurred at the Dick DeWees Community & Senior Center.

“It was a great event,” she said. “The extra space we had made the flow of the event very, very nice.”

For a donation of $25, attendees picked out an artistic bowl and got to eat soup made by more than a dozen local restaurants and chefs, with community volunteers ladling the tasty concoctions.

“This is the best right here,” Angel Ramos said of the pot of split pea soup sitting before him.

His sales pitch didn’t win one customer within ear shot.

One of hundreds of bowls made for the Empty Bowls fundraiser says it all. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“I would be on my death bed before I had pea soup,” a woman said with a smile before veering to another server with a different soup.

Bowl makers included Allan Hancock College ceramic students, Lompoc High School art students, Lompoc Valley Middle School art students, plus members of Orcutt Academy High School, Vandenberg Village Lions Club and Pier Fitness.

Alice Laufer demonstrated the craft of pottery at the back of the room. For approximately a decade, her Lompoc Valley Middle School students have made bowls for the event.

“I think community service is really good for them,” she said. “It’s kind of surprising for them to realize they can make a difference in their world.”

The Foodbank has committed to boost the quantity of food going to Lompoc because it’s the area with the greatest need, she said.

“This will help us to be able to financially do that,” she added.

Alice Laufer, a teacher at Lompoc Valley Middle School, demonstrates the art of pottery. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

The event is a testimony to the spirit of the Lompoc Valley, Monte added.

“Empty Bowls is just a great demonstration of that community spirit,” Monte said.

While Lompoc Empty Bowls is held each spring, Santa Maria’s occurs in the fall, with this year’s planned for Oct. 28.

The Santa Barbara Empty Bowls event is scheduled for a Sunday in early November.