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Shelter opens doors

Bridge to Home to help homeless during winter

Posted: December 1, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 1, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Stan Nagle, center, discusses the new dental clinic to attendees of an open house at the Bridge to Home shelter in Saugus on Friday.

The day before opening its doors to the Santa Clarita Valley’s homeless population, Bridge to Home welcomed the community at large for an open house event Friday evening.

The event provides both an opportunity to highlight the shelter’s services and to help break some of the stigmas surrounding those who are homeless, said Bridge to Home Executive Director Tim Davis.

“There are a lot of stereotypes that are buried in people’s brains about those who are homeless,” Davis said. “This allows people to get exposed, to experience another slice of life here in Santa Clarita.”

Bridge to Home, located at 23031 Drayton St., in Saugus, is a winter homeless shelter serving the Santa Clarita Valley.

Davis said this is the 16th winter the shelter will be open, and the fifth the shelter has held a community and volunteer open house.

This year’s open house was sponsored by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

In addition to education, Friday’s event provided an opportunity to try and meet some of the shelter’s fundraising needs, organizers said.

Nicole Downing, a Bridge to Home official, said if 3,000 people pledged $10 a month in donations, the shelter would meet its fundraising goals.

The shelter provided services to 254 individuals and 19 families from December 2011 to March 2012, according to figures from Davis.

Bridge to Home leans heavily on the work of volunteers, Davis said. For example, every one of the approximately 19,000 meals served by the shelter each year is served by volunteers, Davis said.

One such volunteer is Laurie Henry, who has volunteered at the shelter for the past four years.

“I just feel so blessed in my life that I want to serve my less-fortunate friends,” Henry said. “It just warms my heart.”

Attending along with Henry was Tammy Ianozzi, who traveled from Acton to attend the open house. Ianozzi said Friday was the first time she had ever been in the shelter.

“I’d heard about this place quite a bit,” Ianozzi said. “And it just sounded like a great way to help out the community.”

Bridge to Home is accepting donations. Among the most-needed items are breakfast cereals, coffee, toilet paper, paper cups, cleaning supplies and 35-gallon garbage bags.

The shelter opens today.




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