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This is funny for a reason

Fundraiser set to help local homeless shelter

Posted: November 21, 2008 9:49 p.m.
Updated: November 22, 2008 4:59 a.m.

Comedian Billy Gardell will perform Nov. 30 at a fundraiser for the Santa Clarita Valley Emergency Winter Shelter.

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Laughter goes a long way, and in this morbid economy, it can go even further.

For the second consecutive year, Christ Lutheran Church in Valencia has teamed up with the Santa Clarita Valley Emergency Winter Shelter to host a night of laughter.

This year's special guest Billy Gardell from the Comedy Central network and NBC's "My Name is Earl," takes the stage 7 p.m. Nov. 30 at 25815 Tournament Road in Valencia.

Tickets are $10 and all proceeds will support the shelter.

Last year's comedy night featuring Jeff Dunham raised $17,000 for the shelter and received rave reviews.

"It was awesome," said Bret Wims of Canyon Country. "Last year I went with my wife and three kids and we had a blast. We still talk about it."

The fundraiser may even be more crucial this year, Wims said.

"I know the shelter can use the funds this year, especially with the expectation of more shelter clients due to our economic challenges and funding cutbacks at the county and state levels," he said.

Over the past decade, the winter shelter - operating between December and early March - has given the valley's homeless population a place to get a hot meal, a place to sleep and wash up and assistance in finding work.

Christ Lutheran's missions coordinator Debbie Price and Tim Davis, executive director of the shelter, agreed with Wims' sentiments.

"This year, with the economy, the response and need at the shelter is going to be overwhelming," Price said.

The fundraiser is designed to get as many people involved in the shelter as possible, to raise as much money as possible because the budget is down while the demand is up and to entertain the audience.

Lynne Rieck of Valencia said her family enjoyed the show last year.

"But what was especially gratifying was to see how so many people came together, donating their time and talent, for a greater cause," she said. "Given the purpose of the evening, it seemed quite appropriate that the show was held under the open arms of Jesus, reminding us of his teaching to open our arms in love and compassion toward others."

Christ Lutheran and the shelter have worked together for 10 years. Members of the church often visit the shelter and serve food.

"It's just a passion," said fundraiser coordinator and church member Debi Colbert. "Once you go there and experience helping these people, it is life-changing."

The church will also host a silent auction with items such as tickets for concerts by Bette Midler or Cher, or a Toby Keith autograph. The auction is at 6:30 p.m. Organizers are soliciting donations for the auction.

For ticket information, visit www.Come2Christ.com, or call Colbert at (661) 259-0200. If tickets sell out for the evening show, the coordinators plan to add a matinee 4 p.m. show to raise an additional $4,000 for the shelter.

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