Big crowd shows up for Foodbank event in Santa Maria
The line went out the door Wednesday at Santa Maria Fairpark as a large crowd turned out for the first in-person Santa Maria Empty Bowls since 2019.
Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino and others served gourmet soups during the 21st annual Foodbank of Santa Barbara County benefit. In addition to the soups, those attending could choose from hundreds of hand-painted bowls.
The event cost $25. Proceeds went entirely to the Foodbank’s efforts to provide healthy groceries, fresh produce and nutrition education to Santa Maria residents who are facing hunger and food insecurity.
“The senior home delivery program brings great value to the community, not only in nutrition, but also in value,” said Claire Sheehy, Empty Bowls committee member and member of the Foodbank’s Board of Trustees.
“I find great comfort and connection when I check on my recipients when I deliver fresh produce and groceries from the Foodbank,” she said in a news release.
The Empty Bowls event featured prizes including handmade artisan creations, food and wines, special experiences and more.
Gourmet soups were created and donated by local chefs and restaurants, which included the Allan Hancock College Culinary Program.
Other participants were Blast 825 (corn chowder), Center for Employment Training, Cups and Crumbs, Jack’s in Old Orcutt (corn chowder), Jaffa Café (red lentil), Kay’s Country Kitchen, La Tapatia (green chicken posole), Lidos Concessions (chili), Olive Garden, Pizzeria Bello Forno (roasted red pepper and tomato), Vintner’s Bar & Grill at the Radisson Hotel Santa Maria (tomato basil), The Salty Brigade, Santa Maria Country Club, Santa Maria Inn, Splash Café (clam chowder), Testa Catering (roasted cauliflower) and Zoe’s Hawaiian BBQ (chicken tortilla.)
As they enjoyed their soup, people also got a taste of music, provided by Mirame Entertainment.
And people got to see bowl-making demonstrations by Mike McNutt of the ceramics program at Allan Hancock College.
The hundreds of hand-painted bowls were provided by Mr. McNutt, Allan Hancock College ceramics program, Melanie Enloe, Shirley Hinzo, Oasis Senior Center, Orcutt Academy High School, Righetti High School, St. Joseph High School, Santa Ynez Valley Union High School, Sue Southern, Ben Trogdon, Vandenberg Spouses Club and Foodbank volunteers.
“The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County has been there for our community every year,” said Ron Lovell, assistant professor and program coordinator for Culinary Arts and Management at Allan Hancock College and a member of the Santa Maria Empty Bowls committee.
“The students at Allan Hancock College really appreciate the Food Share Because We Care event every week, and extra support when they really need it. Empty Bowls provides an opportunity for our culinary arts students to return the favor for the Foodbank.”