JANUARY 2020 MARKETPLACECONTRACOSTA.COM 27
work quickly to set up tables, chairs,
and decorations before the doors open
at 4:00 p.m.. The layout and timeline
of the event at both Solano and Contra
Costa warehouses were created by the
Suisun Valley 4-Hers within the first
year of the partnership and has been
used ever since.
In addition to volunteer
involvement, the event would be
fruitless without the generous donations
of local organizations. The hundreds of
bowls distributed throughout the event
are gifted to the Food Bank by the
ceramics classes at Solano Community
College. The simple soup and bread
dinner, served to replicate an evening
meal of someone struggling with
providing food, are donated by local
soup kitchens in both counties. The
auction and raffle prizes are also given
to the Food Bank by local farmers,
artists, and organizations who recognize
the importance of the work.
Since the involvement of the
Suisun Valley 4-H Club in 2017, the
success of Empty Bowls has grown
immensely. The number of registered
guests increased from 201 in 2016 to
403 in 2017 and finally to 500 in 2018.
Event revenue increased from $4,249
to $7,705 to $8,709 (ticket and revenue
information from Empty Bowls 2019
is still currently being calculated).
The Food Bank is able to turn each
dollar into two meals, so this purely
community sponsored event had an
immensely positive impact.
However, the significance of this
event lies not only within the revenue
it generates, but in the awareness it
fosters. Many guests at Empty Bowls are
new to the Food Bank and their work.
Food sorting sign-ups are passed around
throughout the event, encouraging
guests to come back as volunteers.
Pamphlets are displayed on tables with
information such as the fact that about
50% of students in the Fairfield Suisun
Unified School District alone qualify
for free and reduced lunch. Information
cards are placed at each table setting
showing guests that the Food Bank
distributes over 20 million pounds
of food to the community each year.
This push for awareness makes this
event successful, and the symbol of the
“empty bowl” remains with the guests
long after their departure from the
If you would like to volunteer at
the Food Bank or have any questions
regarding their work, they can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or
1-855-309-FOOD. Their website is
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