Local event raises awareness and funds to combat homelessness

PASO ROBLES — On Thursday, April 25, the community gathered at Studios on the Park in Paso Robles for the Empty Bowls fundraiser benefiting El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO). While this year was the second Paso Robles-based fundraiser for the nonprofit, the 9th annual Empty Bowls was held on April 11. 

ECHO President and CEO Wendy Lewis announced at the event that already this year, ECHO has assisted 80 individuals and families in securing stable housing.

“We cannot thank Studios on the Park enough for donating this beautiful venue,” added Lewis, who thanked all of the volunteers and artists who came together to make the fundraiser happen.


This year, the handmade ceramic bowls for the event were made by Morro Bay High School students. The Paso Robles Empty Bowls event was an evening filled with soup tastings, curated wine selections, studio art, and live music. Participating businesses in the event included BL Brasserie, Pappy McGregor’s, Red Scooter Deli, and Negranti Creamery.

Mary Baiamonte, who is on the Board of Directors for Studios on the Park, helped bring ECHO and the studio together over a year ago. 

Already familiar with ECHO and its work in the community, Baiamonte knows the two nonprofits would be a great fit.

“They’ve [ECHO has] done wonders,” she said. “They work, ECHO works.”

A testimate to ECHO working, Reece Scrivner shared her story with ECHO. 

After high school, Scrivner found herself down a path with addiction. As a kid, she remembered volunteering at ECHO with her grandmother, but it took Scrivner several tries to accept help offered by ECHO. 

“I got to volunteer here with my grandma and I learned that it’s a safe, supportive place for people in their time of need,” she said.

By the age of 19, Scrivner said she was homeless going from rehab and back to an encampment several times. 

“I woke up and thought I’m ready to make a change. And the first stop I made when I decided to make a change was [ECHO], and I signed up for the 90-day program and got on the waitlist,” explained Scrivner of her journey. “And while I was ready to get into the program, I took advantage of the showers every day and the dinners every day.”

Scrivner noted that it takes someone who is struggling an average of 37 times to be offered help before they accept it and follow through.

“ECHO is consistently there, consistently holds that trust,” said Scrivner. “So when the client is ready, they receive those resources.”

Today, Scrivner works as an outreach case manager for ECHO.

ECHO’s emergency shelter programs provide safe and supportive environments for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, offering them a pathway toward stability and self-sufficiency. Through a combination of 90-day emergency shelter, individualized case management, and supportive services, ECHO empowers its clients to overcome the challenges they face and find lasting solutions.

ECHO currently has a location in Paso Robles at 1134 Black Oak Drive and in Atascadero at 6370 Atascadero Ave.

For anyone interested in volunteering or learning more about ECHO, visit echoshelter.org

Featured Image: Volunteers at the ECHO Empty Bowl fundraiser show the wines offered at the event, which was held April 25 at Studios in the Park in Paso Robles. Photos by Rick Evans