Foodbank to host first Lompoc Empty Bowls benefit since 2019
The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County will host its 17th Lompoc Empty Bowls fundraiser, following a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, on July 27 at the Dick DeWees Community and Senior Center, 1120 Ocean Ave.
Seatings for the Lompoc event are set for 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Tickets cost $25 and are available online at www.foodbanksbc.org/leb22 or can be purchased in Lompoc at Chapter 2 Bookstore at 1137 N. H St., Suite Q, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday and at the Vandenberg Village Water District Office at 3745 E. Constellation Road from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.
Some outdoor seating will be available at the event. Health and safety recommendations from Santa Barbara County Public Health Department will be observed.
The Foodbank will use all proceeds raised 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 and enjoy a simple lunch of soup, bread and water. They will also be able to participate in a raffle extravaganza and silent auction and purchase custom succulent plantings for $10.
Entertainment will include music provided 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.”
“The last Lompoc Empty Bowls was scheduled for March 28, 2020, and was canceled 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. That’s why we’re rejoicing so much to gather with the community this summer for Lompoc Empty Bowls.”
Attendees will choose from among hundreds of one-of-a-kind bowls provided by Allan Hancock College, Santa Ynez Valley Community Outreach (formerly known as the 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 the 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 provided by Albertsons and Walmart in Lompoc.
Celebrity volunteers serving soup will include Santa Barbara County Supervisor Gregg Hart, Lompoc Mayor Jenelle Osborne (serving soup during the 11:30 seating) and news anchors from KSBY-TV in San Luis Obispo.
Leftover soup from the event will be shared with residents undergoing cancer treatment and their caregivers via a home delivery program of the Santa Ynez Valley Community Outreach.
A community-based raffle extravaganza and silent auction will feature prizes including handmade, artisan creations, food and wines, special experiences and a quilt made by the late Lompoc textile artist and longtime supporter of Lompoc Empty Bowls, Arlene Cheatham.
For more information, contact the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County at 805-967-5741, ext. 306.