Over $100,000 was raised to support local unhoused trying to find permanent housing

PASO ROBLES — The community came out in full force last weekend to support the El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO) in their first Empty Bowls fundraiser in Paso Robles on Thursday, April 27. The event followed their 8th annual Empty Bowls in Atascadero on Thursday, April 20.

ECHO CEO and Executive Director Wendy Lewis said, “It was a beautiful day. The event was beautiful, and Austin [Solheim] was in charge of both [events] and did a great job organizing.”

Held at the nonprofit Studios on the Park on Pine Street, 150 people were in attendance. After hosting a meal team for ECHO, Studios on the Park offered to work with ECHO to bring an Empty Bowls fundraiser to Paso Robles. The day was full of handmade bowls with their artists, soup, wine, and live music by Dawn Lambeth. 


“Paso sold out, so we were excited for our first fundraising event in Paso to sell out and just have the community back us like they did was pretty heartwarming,” added Lewis. 

With both events, ECHO was able to raise over $100,000 — the most in its history. Thanks to sponsors and other donations, the nonprofit is able to direct most of its raised funds to its services and operations. This is ECHO’s second year operating their campus in Paso Robles. Between both campuses, ECHO has permanently housed 56 individuals and families this year.

“Since we have been here [Paso Robles], it has been incredible to watch the community come out and learn about ECHO and give us an opportunity to raise awareness, and through that so many community members have come out and supported us and our mission and helped us build the campus we have that is focused on getting individuals and families housed,” said Austin Solheim, ECHO’s donor relation and community engagement manager.

Soup was provided by Official for Paso, BL Brasserie, Red Scooter, The HATCH, Justin Winery, Fish Gaucho, Thomas Hill Organics, and Odyssey World Café. Bread was even provided by Barb The Baker. Bowls were handmade by local artists David Pope, Pam Cavaliere, Cristy Anderson, Will Hess, Ariane Leiter, Atascadero Fine Arts Academy, Cuesta College, and Alecia Teague.

This year’s Empty Bowls sponsors are A1 Glass, The Sandwich Truck, Heart to Heart Real Estate, BBSI, Central Coast Moving, Gerber Automotive, BHE Renewables, Humanity Wine, Steve Schmidt Topsoil, Paso Robles Waste and Recycle, General Store, Idlers Home, Corvus Wealth, SCI, Edible Magazine, ACIJet, CoastHills Credit Union, Mechanics Bank, 76, Kara Woodruff, Tenet Health, SLO County Board of Supervisors Silver, Harvestly, Andros, KSBY, Dimes Media, Arris Studio Architects, Dignity Health, Howards, CenCal, American Riviera, North County Compost, Peggy and Ronald Krall, Justin Winery, Scout Rental, Whats up north county, DiBuduo & Defendis Brokers, Sky River RV, Boone Graphics, Libretto, and Premier Valley Bank.

“We were thrilled by the community … they step up,” said Lewis of the community’s support of both events.

ECHO thanks all who have helped put on this event for the past eight years and the artists for their work and support. For anyone interested in volunteering or learning more about ECHO, visit echoshelter.org