Empty Bowls fundraising event helps South County Outreach feed the hungry in Orange County

Posted on April 20th, 2017


South County Outreach is holding its fifth annual Empty Bowls hunger-awareness event on April 20, 2017 at El Niguel Country Club in Laguna Niguel. Local artisans, chefs, businesses and volunteers come together for an evening to raise funds to prevent hunger and homelessness in Orange County.


Empty Bowls is an international grassroots movement created to fight food insecurity. Hosted locally by South County Outreach, 13 local restaurants and chefs help provide a unique tasting event by each creating a signature soup. All guests leave with a unique ceramic bowl, handmade by a local student or artist, as a reminder of those who are hungry – whose bowls are truly empty. The event will also include live entertainment, wine tasting and a silent auction.


“We love this Empty Bowls event – it is so uplifting to see everyone enjoy the simple meal of soup and to know that they are making contributions to feed people who struggle to put food on the table for their families,” said South County Outreach Executive Director Lara Fisher.


This humble meal of soup is intended to create awareness about the problem of hunger in Orange County where more than 335,000 people do not know where their next meal is coming from – that number of people would fill Angel Stadium more than seven times. South County Outreach distributes almost 800,000 pounds of food annually, providing over 3,000 people with meals each month.


“In the summer months, demand for the food pantry is high. Half of Orange County’s kids qualifying for the free or reduced lunch program, since school is out they no longer have access to those guaranteed meals. That’s about 100 extra meals per child low-income families have to provide during the summer break,” explained Fisher. “The proceeds from Empty Bowls help us stock our food pantry to keep supply up with demand.”


Local restaurants are great supporters of Empty Bowls and this year’s event features a restaurant from each of the cities served by South County Outreach. From Rancho Santa Margarita comes Hanna’s, while Angelina’s comes from Irvine. Two restaurants that are new to Empty Bowls this year are Laguna Beach’s Watermarc and Aliso Viejo’s Opah. Other participating restaurants include Sonny’s Pizza and Pasta in San Clemente, Mission Viejo’s Piccolino, Trevor’s at the Tracks, Villa Roma, Urban Grill & Wine Bar, Chef Barbie, El Niguel Country Club, Sundried Tomato American Bistros & Catering and Mother’s Market & Kitchen. Ravage Sweets has also joined Empty Bowls this year as a dessert partner.


“We have the best partners for this event. Each year the chefs work to come up with new and interesting soups and to outdo each other – but in a very friendly competition,” said Fisher. “We also appreciate all the great auction items that are donated. Our guests love to enjoy their soup and wine while choosing what to bid on. It’s just a fun evening of doing good.”


Each year, children from South County Outreach housing programs decorate bowls for the event. Local ceramic artists, high school art students and clubs create and donate the bowls that will be given to guests. Lake Forest ceramic artist Ryan Mennealy and Irvine ceramic artist Rebecca Gaut each create special pieces for the auction. Other ceramic partners include Capistrano Valley High School, Mission Viejo High School, Trabuco High School, Laguna Hills High School, Los Alamitos High School, Laguna Beach High School, Costa Mesa High School and the Ceramic Slipcasting Club of Laguna Woods. A special bowl is painted by the artist Wyland to be featured in the auction.


“Empty bowls is a completely unique event. The beautiful handmade bowl I received is a daily reminder of all the good being done by so many, for so many, through South County Outreach.” Said former Laguna Niguel Mayor Robert Ming.


The event is open to the public; Reservations are $110 and are available at www.sco-oc.org/events or by calling 949-380-8144. South County Outreach is still accepting sponsorships and silent auction item donations for the event.


Since 1989, South County Outreach has been helping local people in crisis – the unemployed, under-employed, seniors, veterans, the disabled and children in Orange County. With the support of local residents and the Orange County business community, the agency was able to provide nearly 50,000 services last year, helping people in need get back on the road to self-sufficiency.


Based in Irvine, South County Outreach serves the communities of Aliso Viejo, Dana Point, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano.



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