Bridge to Home donors and board members gathered Saturday evening to raise money, celebrate the organization’s accomplishments and discuss how the community can help fight homelessness, too.
The nonprofit organization held its biggest fundraiser, Soup for the Soul, with more than 300 donors in attendance at the Bella Vida senior center. In addition to the invited donors, the organization sold 50 tickets to the event, which sold out in minutes.
“My husband and I have been involved with Bridge to Home for quite a while now. This is their big annual fundraiser so it is important for us to come and support them,” said Lori Jorache, a donor for Bridge to Home, which operates the Santa Clarita Valley’s only homeless shelter.
At the start of the event, guests were mingling on the outside patio eating appetizers and drinking wine and beer provided by Wolf Creek brewery. At the reception, guests were served six different soups that will be available at the shelter, and offered the chance to bid at a live auction.
A silent auction took place on the patio with different prizes like Universal Studios tickets and a Salt Creek Grille and Regal movie tickets bundle. All proceeds from the auctions went toward supporting the homeless shelter.
Bridge to Home provides support services such as an emergency winter shelter, housing navigation, and medical clinics, according to the Bridge to Home website.
“We want to help make homelessness brief, and never repeated,” said Mike Foley, executive director of Bridge to Home. He also described how the proceeds will go toward creating a permanent homeless shelter in Santa Clarita. In the history of Santa Clarita, it will be the first 24-hour, 365-day-a-year homeless shelter.
More than 20 years ago, this event served soup bowls at the shelter and only about $500 to $600 was raised. Since then, donations of about $1,000 to $20,000 are made. Along with donation growth, there has also been a growth in volunteers.
From the standpoint of volunteerism, there were more than 700 volunteers last year at Bridge to Home and every single meal provided was by a group of volunteers or faith community, according to Foley.
“We got to triple that to make homeless services sustainable in an island community like Santa Clarita. Everybody needs to help,” said Foley. “Neighborhoods need to bond together to help welcome people back into housing.”