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Shelter to open on time

Emergency Winter Shelter opens Monday

Posted: November 26, 2008 10:21 p.m.
Updated: November 27, 2008 4:59 a.m.

Tim Davis (left) and Andy Pattantyus of the Santa Clarita Community Development Corp. and volunteer Melanie Dvorak process food and other items donated to the Santa Clarita Emergency Winter Shelter, which opens Monday.

 

Tim Davis and Andy Pattantyus weren't rushing home Wednesday to get a jump on Thanksgiving. The pair spent their time accepting donations and setting up the Santa Clarita Emergency Winter Shelter for the 2008-09 season.

"Donations are key to our operation," said Pattantyus, board vice president of the Santa Clarita Community Development Corp., the nonprofit organization that operates the shelter.

The shelter is open from Dec. 1 to March 15. During the 2007-08 season the shelter served more than 11,000 meals, said Davis, the corporation's executive director. "We've received in-kind donations from nearly 30 groups," he said.

Another boost to the program was a 2007 decision by the Santa Clarita City Council to allow the shelter to remain permanently in place even after the season ends, Davis said.

The portable trailers at the shelter's Golden Valley Road location didn't require assembly before the shelter staff moved in this year, and that means the shelter will open on time for the first time in nearly a decade, he said. "We'll be open Monday night," Davis said.

Melanie Dvorak delivered produce and cereal Wednesday.

The food is from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Santa Clarita Stake, where Dvorak is a member. "We are asked to fast the first Sunday of each month and use what money we would spend on food and donate it to the needy," she said.

For Dvorak, giving at any time is important, but with winter coming it becomes even more vital to think about those in need. "Last night when I was snuggled down in my blanket listening to the rain, I thought about people less fortunate," she said.

Even more important is giving throughout the year. "We served more than 11,000 meals and only spent $400 of the shelter's money. The support comes from in-kind donations," Davis said.

In-kind donations come from volunteers providing services and actual food, he said.

Davis encourages people from the community to visit the shelter. "You should see what we do here," he said.

Dvorak agrees. "It puts a face on the homeless," she said.

Visiting the shelter may encourage people to volunteer, and service to others is addictive, Dvorak said. "(Pattantyus) started as a volunteer bus driver," Dvorak said.

The shelter is at 26201 Golden Valley Road. For more information call the hotline at (661) 312-5845 or visit www.santaclaritashelter.com.

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