Wineries boost food bank

Daily Pilot

The second annual Stars of Santa Barbara summer food and wine event will be at South Coast Plaza tonight with proceeds benefiting the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County.

More than 40 Santa Barbara region wineries will participate, including Alma Rosa, Bonaccorsi, Bridlewood, Coquelicot, Costa de Oro, Dragonette Cellars, Flying Goat Cellars and Sunstone Vineyards, according to a press release from South Coast Plaza.

In addition to sampling the various wines, attendees who pay $75 to $100 to get in can enjoy an array of appetizers and food items provided by the many restaurants housed in the Costa Mesa shopping mall.

The event will also hold a silent auction and musical entertainment provided by Jason Bentley, a deejay with KCRW radio

Every dollar from ticket sales, the auction and sponsors will go directly to the Second Harvest Food Bank. Last year's event raised more than $50,000 for the organization, Second Harvest Communications Associate Kathie Monroe said.

"This is a really important event as we head into the summer months, which are typically lean for us," Monroe said.

New to this year's event is the chance to sponsor a child's backpack — part of a program that provides take-home meals and nutrition to Orange County children.

About 43% of public school students in the county rely on free or reduced-cost meal programs provided through the school system as their primary source of nutrition, Monroe said. The Backpack Program helps those students not only bridge the summer gap, but it also provides weekend and breakfast nutrition year-round.

A 30-day backpack for a child can be sponsored for $30 or a full summer backpack can be sponsored for $90.

"Guests can have a great time while raising money for a great cause, and for the first time, have a tangible object where they can directly see what their money is funding," Monroe said.

The 7 to 10 p.m. event will take place on the outdoors Garden Terrace, in Nordstrom wing off Bear Street. Tickets are $75 in advance and $100 at the door. Tickets can be bought at

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