The Empty Bowls fundraiser for El Camino Homeless Organization held on April 25 raised more than $40,000 for the organization. Now in its 4th year, 600 people attended the annual April event at Atascadero Bible Church.

Empty Bowls is an international project to fight hunger related problems throughout the world. ECHO will benefit from 100 percent of the proceeds to use towards its housing and meal programs. Many local potters make and donate ceramic soup bowls. For $25 each, guests choose a hand-crafted bowl and sample soups donated by 20 local restaurants and bakeries and served by local celebrities.  Guests take home their beautiful pottery bowl as a reminder of all the “empty bowls” in the world.

During the event, Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo) announced that El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO) of Atascadero has been named the Assembly District 35 Non-Profit of the Month for April.

“ECHO is providing a great service to some of our community’s most vulnerable residents,” said Assemblyman Cunningham. “Not only are they providing a place to stay for families experiencing homelessness, but they are also helping individuals resolve core issues for their homelessness, develop plans to get a home, update their résumés, and search for job openings.”

“The Empty Bowls event is an annual opportunity for those of us who eat without worry to reach out to our neighbors for whom a meal may be a luxury,” says Wendy Lewis, President/CEO, “In 2018 ECHO served 52,934 meals and helped 112 people find secure housing facing hunger and homelessness in SLO County. We thank all those that participated in the event and supported us in our mission to end homelessness in our community.”

ECHO operates a safe and secure overnight 50 bed shelter to meet the immediate needs of families and individuals who have become homeless.  With a unique residency program, residents are provided case management services to assist them in securing a job and finding permanent and sustainable housing within three months of entering the shelter.  While enrolled in the program, residents learn life skills for employment, budgeting, healthier habits and more.  The goal and the result of this practical support is the empowerment of residents to move in a positive direction while assisting them in acquiring the skills and services they need to become self-sustaining, including stable housing.

About El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO)

ECHO’s mission since 2001 is to empower people in SLO County to make positive change by providing food, shelter, and supportive services. ECHO operates a 50-bed shelter, a daily community dinner program, and shower program for homeless individuals and families throughout San Luis Obispo County.  For more information, please visit our website at