The Foodbank, based in Santa Barbara County, organized an annual fundraising event – the Empty Bowls initiatives on November 19, 2016, which welcomed over 800 people donating to the host agency. Philanthropist and Las Vegas resident — Stanley Tomchin co-sponsored the 19th edition of the fundraiser, which took place in Goleta, CA at the Ben Page Youth Center. The resulting proceeds of the event are used by the non-profit to bring awareness towards the food insecurity throughout the community, while also procuring funding to help the Foodbank in their mission to end hunger in Santa Barbara County.
This year’s event featured soups from over 20 local restaurants, and over 1,200 bowls donated by local ceramic artists and art students of all ages. Those who attended were each able to select their own handcrafted bowl, which was used to partake in any of the gourmet soups and homemade bread on hand. The bowls were then taken home afterwards as a reminder of the meal’s purpose. After lunch, guests were invited to experience the work of the Foodbank up close with walking tours of the warehouse facility and demonstration booths -- all located next door to the Ben Page Youth Center. A raffle drawing with an assortment of prizes was also held during the afternoon, preceded by an auction for ceramic gifts handcrafted by the same artists who donate the soup bowls. “With the loyal support of local artists, ceramicists, and restaurants, we are honored to continue a beloved tradition, while fulfilling our mission to move Santa Barbara from hunger into health,” said Foodbank of Santa Barbara County CEO Erik Talkin prior to the event.
Empty Bowls was created in 1990 by John Hartom and his high school students in Bloomfield Hills, MI, as a unique way to help a local food drive while involving local artists. It eventually became a broader project to support food banks, soup kitchens, and other organizations fighting hunger throughout the country. In 1998, Santa Barbara County ceramic artist and teacher Danyel Dean learned of the idea from a student, and later helped to organize the first one for the area that November. The Empty Bowls Committee was developed soon after, overseeing the continued growth and success of the annual lunch, as it went from 600 bowls donated and $17,000 raised the first year, to over 1,400 bowls donated and $120.000 raised in its 10th year. Stanley Tomchin is truly honored to be able to contribute to this event, and its pursuit of ending hunger while transforming the health of Santa Barbara County through good nutrition.
As a renowned professional gamesplayer and chessmaster by his early teens, Stanley Tomchin spent decades traveling the world while competing at the highest levels. After the completion of his career, he eventually settled down in Las Vegas to focus on his diverse charity work, supporting numerous local and international causes. Tomchin established the Tomchin Family Charitable Foundation in 2005 to formalize his gifting practices. Each year his organization reviews the performance of close to forty different organizations to determine which ones share his values, and would also benefit most from his giving and support.
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