March 8, 2011
More than just soup served at Empty Bowls event

By Niesha Lofing

It was soup that warmed the stomach and soul.

Hundreds of diners packed the Masonic Temple in downtown Sacramento today for the final serving of Empty Bowls, a two-day fundraiser for the River City Food Bank.

The Monday evening soup supper and both luncheon seatings Tuesday sold out.

The event is the most important one of the year for the food bank, which is hoping Empty Bowls will raise $100,000 this year.

Attendees chose from among 1,500 handmade bowls by students and professional potters and then got to pick their soup from among those donated by local restaurants. Bread, butter, coffee and cookies also were on hand. Tickets were $30 per person.

The event is a favorite of chef Shannan Berg's, of Cafe Bernardo, which for the third year in a row has donated the restaurant's signature red pepper and potato soup.

Her family experienced homelessness for two years when Berg, the oldest of five children, was in her early teens.

"It feels like paying it forward," Berg said. "Honestly, I don't think people know their neighbors are going hungry."

On Tuesday, The Bee's Sheila Kern and I chose greek lemon rice soup crafted by the Greek Village Inn. The tart flavor of the lemons added an interesting note to the soup's smooth texture. But even more satisfying was knowing that our contribution would help the food bank provide food for others in the community.

For more information about Empty Bowls, check out the food bank's website.

Missed this Empty Bowls event? The Placer Food Bank also is holding an Empty Bowls fundraiser May 3 and 4. For tickets and information, go to

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