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Foodbank of Santa Barbara County gears up for Empty Bowls fundraiser

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County will host its 23rd Annual Santa Barbara Empty Bowls fundraiser on Sunday, December 5 from 11 am to 3 pm. The event will be different than past years, shifting from a community luncheon to an outdoor holiday marketplace at the Foodbank’s Santa Barbara warehouse. 

In order to promote safety with physical distancing, limited tickets will be available for each of the four different entry times for the event. Attendees will select a handmade ceramic bowl to take home and have a choice of heat-and-serve soup to go. They will also receive an exclusive Empty Bowls discount brochure for local restaurants to enjoy during the holiday season. 

“In this extraordinary time, we had to recreate Empty Bowls, again. This year offers a new way for our giving circle to come together to help alleviate hunger in our community,” explained Santa Barbara Empty Bowls founder and host committee chair, Danyel Dean. “We’re grateful to share the experience once again.”

“We’re excited to have a new addition from youth artists this year. Students at Crane Country Day School will be decorating bowls. Both the fourth and sixth grades are participating,” Dean continued. “We’ll be delighted to see the creativity from each student.”

“After only being able to host an online Empty Bowls celebration in 2020, we’re thrilled to offer the community an opportunity to come together this year with the real spirit of Empty Bowls in full swing,” noted Foodbank CEO Erik Talkin. “The event is slightly different that the first 20 years, but we’ll be together in person and enjoying the creativity of local potters and ceramic artists, while we support those in our community who face going to bed hungry every day.”

The Empty Bowls local pottery marketplace will be expanded with pottery wheel demonstrations and complimentary gift wrapping. The always popular Empty Bowls raffle will continue to be featured on-site.

The expanded marketplace will include a variety of locally hand-crafted ceramics, including a special gallery section featuring celebrated artists like Lauren Hansen and Joan Rosenberg Dent. Whimsical potted succulents will also be available for purchase, with the special new addition of one-of-a-kind painted houses from Empty Bowls artist and longtime committee member Merrillee Ford. 

Marketplace guests will also have an opportunity to tour the Foodbank’s warehouse and learn more about the Foodbank’s mission and programs.

Each year, the funds raised help the Foodbank provide healthy groceries, fresh produce and nutrition education to low-income families and individuals in Santa Barbara.

This year’s soup to go will be prepared by Catering Connection, a local catering company that created a very successful “Gourmet-To-Go” meal delivery program in 2020, and will feature a variety of options for different dietary needs with packaging and instructions to enjoy at home.

Attendees will receive a brochure with a variety of unique discounts from long-time and new Empty Bowls culinary partners including The Blue Owl, Bluewater Grill, The Daisy, Foxtail Kitchen & Bar, Fresco Café, The Lark, Loquita, Live Oak Café, Pascucci and Stella Mare. 

“In gratitude to the many chefs and restaurants who have supported Empty Bowls past by donating gourmet soup for the fundraiser event, Empty Bowls 2021 also gives us a chance to turn that support back in their direction,” said Judith Smith-Meyer, Foodbank senior communications manager. 

“So many local businesses are struggling to come back strong in the midst of an economic crisis that is lingering from the lockdowns, we’re happy to provide incentives for the community to go out and support them by ordering food to take away or to enjoy out with friends.”

Free parking will be available at San Marcos High School on the corner of Hollister Avenue and Turnpike Road, with a continuously running free shuttle provided by Santa Barbara Airbus to transport guests between the school and the Foodbank warehouse location. Accessible parking is available for those with disabled parking placards and stickers on-site at the warehouse. 

Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here.

For more information, please contact the Foodbank at (805) 967-5741 ext. 119, or Empty Bowls Santa Barbara founder Danyel Dean at (805) 564-6603.

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Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist and sports anchor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Blake, click here.

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