October 10, 2022

IV Food Bank Harvest Bowl fundraiser sold out all seats

This article was originally published by the Imperial Valley Press on October 10, 2022 and can be read here.


CALEXICO — The 11th edition of the Harvest Bowl, the Imperial Valley Food Bank's signature fundraiser, teemed with donors as the event sold all its tickets to supporters who believe in helping feed the hungry.

The Imperial Valley Food Bank (IVFB) fundraiser – its staple, annual event – was held at San Diego State University Imperial Valley here on Saturday, Oct. 8, outdoors at the Rollie Carrillo Quad. The event featured a five-course dinner that included a tequila tasting, wine raffle, piñata raffle, silent auction, and live music from Mariachi Aurora de Calexico and Armando "Mando" Villaseñor of Mando's Stereo.

"It's a fundraising event and it helps the food bank to generate income for the work that we're doing in the community," IVFB Executive Director, Sara Griffen, said. "Many people want to help the Food Bank, but they don't necessarily know how, and this is one way that we have found works in our community. "(The Harvest Bowl) helps remind folks about us by having a dinner where people come to eat so that they can help feed other people."

SDSD-IV's Rollie Carrillo Quad served, figuratively, as a larger table, said SDSU-IV Dean Dr. Gina Núñez-Mchiri.

"This is an open invitation for a sort of partnership to think about others when they have a little bit more to give," the dean said.

"There's always that saying if you have a little bit more, extend your table," she said. "And in this case, extend your efforts to help a student out. If you have something to donate, you know you can contact the Food Bank."

"I think that's part of the wheel of life: You help when you can and you never know when you might be on the receiving end of this aid," Núñez-Mchiri added.

Griffen said SDSU-IV served as a gracious host for the Harvest Bowl fundraiser, but the relationship between the two entities goes beyond that, as the IVFB started in 1991 at the institution as a project in an SDSU-IV political science class.

"We have a long history with the school, and this is a beautiful way to celebrate that," Griffen said.

For Núñez-Mchiri, this fact of the beginnings of the Food Bank serves as recognition of evidence-based research.

"When someone says 'Look, there's evidence of a need,' we should work with our community to develop a nonprofit to start something to address those needs," Núñez-Mchiri said.

"It is important for us to have this partnership and let people know we've been documenting the need (for feeding the county's hungry), and addressing it through partnership building; we want people to know that," the dean said. "It's supportive of addressing food insecurity in the region."

Beside the Harvest Bowl hosting an increased capacity of 100 more attendees thanks to the size of the venue, Griffen said the Food Bank will continue to collaborate with SDSU-IV for future projects.

"We are so grateful that we have such firm support from the community at-large and that they have invested in us in this manner so that we can continue to do our mission," Griffen said.

"It's amazing the community's support for what we do at a time when there's an uncertainty about our economy," she said. "People are still stepping up and supporting what the Food Bank is doing to tackle hunger in the Valley."

Núñez-Mchiri agreed, also thanking the community for their support.

"I know we have a very giving and hardworking community," Núñez-Mchiri said. "This is just an example of what we can do when we collaborate with a partner," she said.