Empty Bowls is still looking for soup donations

ATASCADERO — On Thursday, Apr. 28, El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO) will be holding its 11th Annual Empty Bowls luncheon. The event will take place at Atascadero Bible Church from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 

The church has donated venue space for Empty Bowls’ sit-down luncheon over the years and is still the home of the event, even as it’s switched into drive-thru mode during COVID.

“In traditional years, we actually served the soup. The community comes together, and we have a giant luncheon. With COVID on its way out, but not knowing exactly what it’s going to be doing in April, we’re going to have it be where people come, park on sight, and are able to get out pick out a handmade, artisan bowl, and then it’s going to be a family-style to-go meal with soup and deserts and bread,” said ECHO’s president and CEO, Wendy Lewis. 


At the Apr. 8 Atascadero City Council meeting Lewis addressed the City about the event stating that they had an overabundance of bowls provided for this year’s Empty Bowls but are still looking for soup providers.

“We’re still looking for restaurants in our area to donate soup to the event. We have; it’ll be 12 soup providers already, and we need 18. So we have a little bit of a gap,” added Lewis.

Two local artists, Cristy Anderson and Pam Cavaliere, are donating their creativity and time to ECHO by gathering and making bowls for the event. 

“The bowls are donated by amazing artists within the community. And we have two artists that are leading that. And they’ve done such a fabulous job of collecting bowls that we have more than we traditionally would. So there’ll be a lot of pretty bowls to select from,” continued Lewis. 

Anderson and Cavaliere have over 64 years of pottery work between them, and Empty Bowls is a chance for them to give back to the community.

“ECHO does a wonderful job for those in our community that need help and want to get back on their feet. I love the ceramic arts, and it is a way that fits for me to give back the blessings that I have received,” said Cavaliere.

“Seven individual artists have made bowls, plus Paso Roble High School (PRHS), Morro Bay High School (MBHS), and Cuesta have all made major contributions. We would still appreciate bowls being given to this year’s fundraiser,” added Anderson.

Tickets for this year’s Empty Bowls are already on sale, and you might want to snag yours early.

“We have a feeling we’re going to sell out. It’s a really loved event, so people who have come to the traditional sit down really want to continue to support it, and we’re very hopeful next year we’ll be able to have that big, giant community event. Have everybody come together and celebrate over soup and look at how they can help the homeless population and ECHO provide services that we do,” added Lewis. “We’d love to thank the community in advance for all their ongoing support and their support for Empty Bowls.”

Empty Bowls already has a load of local sponsors helping the event reach its goal, but ECHO is still looking for more. 

Howards Products is the events Founding Sponsor while Specialty Construction Inc is the Presenting Sponsor. Other sponsors include State Farm-Courtney Morrow, American Riviera Bank, Gerber’s Automotive, Idler’s Home, Solarponics, Steve Schmidt Topsoil, Atascadero 76, The Sandwich Truck, Bank of America, Tenet Health, Whitmer-Don & Elaine, Andres Engineering Corp, CenCal Health, BHE Renewables, Mechanics Bank, North County Recycling, KSBY, Dimes Media, Charles Bourbeau, and Monica Financial and Tax. 

To volunteer, sponsor, donate soup, or purchase tickets for Empty Bowls, email ECHO at echoshelter.org or call (805)462-3663. 

Empty Bowls Contributed Photo 4