Staff Report

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County will host its 18th Annual Santa Maria Empty Bowls fundraiser on Wednesday, Oct. 23, with seatings at 11 a.m., 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. at the Santa Maria Fairpark, 937 S. Thornburg St. in Santa Maria.

This annual event raises funds to help the Foodbank address hunger and malnutrition in the Santa Maria Valley. For a donation of $25, attendees select a hand-crafted ceramic bowl, enjoy a simple meal of gourmet soup and bread, and take the bowl home as a reminder that the purpose of the event is to secure food for hungry local people.

Soups will be provided by the Hancock College Culinary Department, Jaffa Café (red lentil), Moxie Café (tri-tip chili), Radisson Vintner’s Grill (beef fajita), Jack’s in Old Orcutt (corn chowder), Joy By The Spoonful, Santa Maria Country Club, Santa Maria Inn, Splash Café (clam chowder) , VTC Enterprises, Zoe’s Hawaiian BBQ (chicken tortilla), the Foodbank’s own partner services manager Jamie Diggs (“scrumptious chili”), and more.

The soup will be served by local civic and community leaders and media personalities including Mayor Alice Patino, Councilmembers Etta Waterfield and Gloria Soto, Fire Chief Leonard Champion and more.

All handcrafted bowls are donated by Mike McNutt, Matsunaga Family, Melissa and Jade Reyes, Santa Maria Recreation and Parks, Potter’s Wheel/ Youth Pottery, First Christian Church, and ceramics students from Hancock College and Orcutt Academy, Righetti, Pioneer Valley and St. Joseph high schools, along with other local artists.

The Foodbank provided food to 190,000 people (unduplicated) in Santa Barbara County in fiscal year 2019. Forty percent of those served are children, which amounts to more than 42,000 children. Seventy-eight percent reside in the North County.

Tickets are available at or by calling 805-967-5741, ext. 306. Tickets can also be purchased at the Foodbank’s North County location, 490 W. Foster Road in Santa Maria; Pacific Premier Bank, 1825 South Broadway in Santa Maria; and Presqu’ile winery tasting room. Tickets will also be available at the door while supplies last.

Opportunities are still available for businesses to sponsor or donate raffle items to the event, as well as for local artists to donate bowls and other items.

For more information, call Laurel Alcantar at the Foodbank at 805-967-5741, ext. 304.