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A giving tradition

Community: Local children cook up special holiday meal for SCV’s homeless

Posted: December 25, 2010 10:25 p.m.
Updated: December 26, 2010 4:55 a.m.

From left, Kendra Barrett, 11; Josh Kimball, 16; Kayla Kimball, 13; and Tiffany Schiro, 14; prepare a hot breakfast for clients of the Santa Clarita Valley Emergency Winter Shelter in Saugus on Saturday.

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For the last five years, a group of local youngsters gather every Saturday morning at the Santa Clarita Valley Emergency Winter Shelter to cook and serve a piping hot breakfast for the community’s homeless.

And this year was no different.

“If we get a Christmas, then they should get a Christmas,” 12-year-old Vince Schiro said on Saturday as his friends and siblings worked in the kitchen.

While many kids across the Santa Clarita Valley sat in their pajamas and unwrapped presents under their Christmas trees, the kids of “The Breakfast Club” were wide-awake frying bacon, scrambling eggs and toasting waffles as the clients of the only local homeless shelter sipped drinks, mingled and watched television.

In a matter of hours, dozens of shelter clients were given a homemade-style breakfast that included bacon, eggs, pancakes with berry toppings, fruit and potatoes.

“We wanted to give them a special meal,” 13-year-old Kayla Kimball said. “This is like our Christmas present to them.”

The shelter, which opens annually for its 105-day winter season, closes by 8 a.m. every day, sending clients to the streets until it opens again in the evenings.

Normally, shelter clients are given a cold breakfast and sack lunches for the day. But Saturdays have become a special day thanks to “The Breakfast Club,” which has grown steadily as kids rope in their friends and siblings through school and church.

The effort started about 14 years ago when Frank Schiro, whose children help serve food, began cooking hot breakfasts on Saturdays.

“I like to give them the food and see them really appreciate what we have done for them,” 14-year-old Tiffany Schiro said.
Along with the hot food, The Breakfast Club organized a gift drive where some 50 clients made gift requests from shelter supporters, who bought, wrapped and dropped off presents for Saturday’s distribution.

“The support has been unbelievable,” said Tara Schiro, Frank’s wife, who helped put together the drive.

Many of the clients were given $50 gift cards to Walmart. Others asked for and received toys for their children, CD players, clothing, food and even car parts, she said.

“No one should be without a present on Christmas,” Tara Schiro said.


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