Jayne Patafin prepares the gifts that are to be given out to the homeless at Bridge to Home's winter shelter on Drayton Street in Santa Clarita on Christmas Eve. Nikolas Samuels
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Aaron Bentley would have nowhere to go for Christmas Eve if it wasn’t for Bridge to Home’s winter shelter on Drayton Street in Santa Clarita. His dad and his brother are both dead. His mom has Alzheimer’s.

The volunteers and other individuals at the winter shelter are his family for the night.

“It’s nice, I’m safe and I’m dry,” said Bentley.

Aaron Bentley sits in Bridge to Home's winter shelter on Drayton Street in Santa Clarita where he is staying for the night on Christmas Eve. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal
Aaron Bentley sits in Bridge to Home’s winter shelter on Drayton Street in Santa Clarita where he is staying for the night on Christmas Eve. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

Fifty-nine other individuals staying at the winter shelter found themselves in a similar situation as Bentley. The shelter is booked to its capacity of 60 beds and DiNesha Jackson, the director of operations for Bridge to Home, expects that to continue throughout the winter.

“We have had a very busy season,” she said. “It started at just about capacity.”

In anticipation for the holiday weekend, Bridge to Home’s winter shelter was open for 36 hours straight starting 6 p.m. Friday to 8 a.m. Sunday so the homeless would not be alone for Christmas Eve.

Carolyn Odien, left, and Sheila Wyeth prepare clothes that are available for the homeless to pick up at Bridge to Home's winter shelter on Drayton Street in Santa Clarita on Christmas Eve. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal
Carolyn Odien, left, and Sheila Wyeth prepare clothes that are available for the homeless to pick up at Bridge to Home’s winter shelter on Drayton Street in Santa Clarita on Christmas Eve. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

They no longer were exposed to the harsh winter elements while staying at the shelter, which was especially important to Bentley who spent part of Friday in the bushes at Central Park to escape the rain.

The Santa Clarita Community also came together to donate some 300 gifts to the people staying at the shelter.

They ensured every individual staying there would have a present to open because everyone deserves a taste of the holiday spirit.

“Celebrating Christmas this evening will feel more like family than strangers,” said Jackson.

The winter shelter will be open through March 15, 2017.

nsamuels@signalscv.com

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