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Soup for the Soul fundraiser draws hundreds

Posted: November 25, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 25, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Scores of people enjoy hot soup served up by volunteers during the first Soup for the Soul fundraiser by Bridge to Home in Saugus on Sunday. Photo by Jim Holt.

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Soup for the Soul provided soup for the belly Sunday as hundreds turned out to support the Bridge to Home shelter’s inaugural fundraiser.

Diners had their choice of either French onion soup or tomato basil soup, served up by volunteers Susan Russell and Catherine Hartnek, of the Canyon Country Optimist Club.

“It’s been busy,” Russell said.

Visitors who bought a ticket to attend the event took home a hand-crafted ceramic soup bowl sponsored by Paint a Dream and painted by local girl scouts and kindergarten students. They also got a raffle entry and a meal of soup, bread, dessert and beverage.

“It’s an exciting day for us,” said Hunt Braly, president of the Bridge to Home board of directors, as he greeted visitors at the door. “We’re opening tomorrow night, just as its starting to get very cold at night and wet, as we’ve seen this week.”

Scores of people lined up at the Bridge to Home doors on Drayton Street for the shelter’s inaugural Soup for the Soul open house and fundraiser.

One of those seen lining up to get in was Santa Clarita City Councilwoman Marsha McLean.

“I am such a huge supporter of the Bridge to Home,” she said. “I am really excited that they’re opening earlier this year.”

In the past, the shelter has opened up its doors to those in need on Dec. 1. The shelter has 55 beds available with 40 allotted to men.

So many visitors to the shelter brought donations that volunteers had to intercept them in the driveway to keep the gifts from piling up inside the front door.

Volunteer Sue Boscamp, who was explaining howSoup for the Soul works, had to pause when she spotted a family of four approach with a box of donations.

“It’s been tremendous today,” she said, commenting on the turnout. “This is the first time they (the shelter board) tried to do their own event. There were days we wondered if it would ever happen.”

Just then the Waschak family from the Santa Clarita Valley showed up with a box full of dental supplies.

“They (shelter volunteers) said they needed toiletries,” said Yvonne Waschak. “So, when I was getting my teeth cleaned I asked the dentist for donations and he said, “Yeah, we have plenty.’”

She gave Boscamp the box containing toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouth wash and other dental care items donated by local dentist Dr. Andrew Tran.

“We didn’t ask people to bring donations but that’s our community for you,” Boscamp said.

All the donated items went to provide services to Santa Clarita Valley’s homeless population.

It is the hope of shelter volunteers to create a “continuum of care, focused on providing comprehensive support services and strategic planning that pave the way for individuals to transition out of homelessness,” according to the shelter’s website.

Key goals of the shelter include the relocation of the temporary shelter to a permanent location and further expansion of services that will provide comprehensive care, including: medical help, mental health assistance, job resources and placement, case management and access to affordable housing.
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