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Soup for wildlife: Soupabration! fundraiser to benefit Pacific Wildlife Care 

What typically comes to mind when thinking about a fundraiser is a large room with white-cloth-draped tables and two main dishes on the menu. 

“Everyone was just sick of the chicken dinner banquet and silent auction, you could say,” Charmaine Coimbra said.

While drinking a bottle of wine with her husband, Coimbra thought of a fundraiser that emphasizes one of the best food pairings for wine: soup. That’s when she created Soupabration! It’s now in its sixth year with this year’s theme being soups from around the world. 

Chefs from various restaurants around the Central Coast craft soups from recipes that reflect countries like Italy, Japan, Morocco, Peru, and Thailand. The soups are entered into competitions for best vegan/vegetarian, best bisque or chowder, best seasonal soup, best of show, and the people’s choice.

click to enlarge RED TAIL RESCUE:  Denali is an Animal Ambassador for Pacific Wildlife Care and just one of the many animals that could be on display at this year’s Soupabration! held on Nov. 6 in Morro Bay. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CHARMAINE COIMBRA
  • RED TAIL RESCUE: Denali is an Animal Ambassador for Pacific Wildlife Care and just one of the many animals that could be on display at this year’s Soupabration! held on Nov. 6 in Morro Bay.

This year, the event’s lineup of culinary professionals judging the soups include returning lead judge Chad Minton, executive chef of the Hyatt Carmel Highlands. 

“So when you win, it means it’s really a heck of a soup. You did something right,” Coimbra said. 

Although the stars of the event are the soups and beer and wine tasting, the event’s real focus is fundraising for Pacific Wildlife Care, a nonprofit organization that rehabilitates injured birds, mammals, and reptiles. Marcelle Bakula, vice president, said the center is the only one of its kind and the only licensed rehabilitation center in San Luis Obispo County. 

“There’s no one else in the county that would take these animals in; they would all have to be probably put down, and we try to release as many as we can back into the wild,” Bakula said. 

The nonprofit began with individuals rehabilitating animals in their homes, but as the demand for helping injured wildlife began to grow, the center was established. It opened its doors in 2007. Bakula said that last year alone the center cared for more than 140 species, everything from snakes to raptors and seabirds. 

Pacific Wildlife Care is open year round and has a growing annual budget of more than $300,000 a year with volunteers, fundraising, donors, grants, and member support keeping the center running.

“That budget comes from medicine, supplies, employing our staff, keeping the lights on and the cost of water, which has recently doubled,” Bakula said. 

Wildlife Ambassadors will be in attendance at the fundraiser, so attendees can learn more about the animals that are saved and cared for. 

Soupabration! will be held on Nov. 6 from noon to 4:30 p.m. at the Morro Bay Community Center. Tickets are $65 for soup and wine tasting and $50 without wine or beer tasting. They’re available for purchase at or by calling 927-3357. For additional information about the event, email [email protected].

Fast Facts 

• The Pismo Beach Veterinary Clinic will host its annual pet costume contest on Oct. 30 from noon to 1 p.m. All pets are welcome in costume or not. There will be food, drinks, and prizes for costume winners. It will take place at 990 Price St. in Pismo Beach. Registration for costumed pets starts at noon.

Pacific Eye, a Central Coast eye care group, will donate $10,000 to local nonprofit organizations through its fifth annual Pacific Eye Gives Back Challenge. By nomination and selection, the community can vote on 10 different organizations. You can vote until Nov. 24. Visit,, or a Pacific Eye office to make your voice heard. 

New Times Staff Writer Karen Garcia wrote this week’s Strokes & Plugs. Send your tips to [email protected].

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