The 2020 Empty Bowls Community Luncheon raised more than $48,000 for 5Cities Homeless Coalition programs and services in SLO County.
Because of coronavirus restrictions, the ninth annual event was held over four days in September and October, rather than during one luncheon on one day as in the past.
Over the course of four Saturdays, more than 900 people picked out bowls handmade and donated by local artists, and received a coupon for a free bowl of soup from their choice of 21 local restaurants.
St. Patrick's Catholic Church, New Life Community Church and Trilogy Monarch Activity Center provided outdoor locations.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the turnout and support from the local community,” says 5Cities Homeless Coalition Executive Director, Janna Nichols. “We are so grateful to the many volunteers, local artists, restaurants, businesses, congregations and organizations who worked hand in hand with us to make this event so successful in these difficult times.”
Many of those same partners work with the Coalition throughout the year to help those who are homeless or at risk for homelessness, according to Nichols. “While permanent housing is the heart of our mission, we work with many agencies to help move people toward self-sufficiency.”
Money raised at Empty Bowls helps fund case management and a variety of programs and services, as well as providing direct financial assistance for families facing homelessness. “Our challenge now is to continue to provide help to our neighbors in need, while we are experiencing dramatic increases in requests,” says 5CHC Board President Mike Byrd. “Empty Bowls also helps raise awareness about issues surrounding homelessness.”