Visitors support Bridge to Home at Winter Wonderland

Olivia Parly, 6, with hat, looks on as Jon Lankford, 4, assisted by Hayden Haney, 11, adds cash to the Wakefield Court, Bridge to Home donation box in Santa Clarita on Thursday, December 12, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Among the decorated houses on Wakefield Court in Winter Wonderland, there’s an opportunity to help individuals who experience homelessness this holiday season.  

Bridge to Home provides the region with its only 24-hour homeless shelter along with services for men and women to transition out of homelessness, according to Mike Foley, executive director at BTH. 

The Bridge to Home donation box is surrounded by Christmas lights and holiday decorations on homes on Wakefield Court in Santa Clarita on Thursday, December 12, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal

For the past 15 years, Mark Young, a founding member of BTH, has placed a donation box in front of his home on Wakefield Court.

“It has become a long-time tradition,” said Foley. “Last year, the box raised $10,000.” 

According to Foley, Young has a long history with the program— longer than anyone else. When Young first placed the box in front of his home, around 2005, the program was not yet called Bridge to Home. 

“It was called the Santa Clarita Community Development Corp.,” said Young. “We started putting the box out to start collecting a few thousand dollars for the organization.” 

Kevin Briancesco adds cash to the Wakefield Court, Bridge to Home donation box in Santa Clarita on Thursday, December 12, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal

Along with the donation box, there are two to three volunteers stationed on Young’s driveway educating the public on the program’s mission and accomplishments. Though the volunteers do not table every day of the season, they do for a total of eight days. 

The donation box is decorated with tinsel and a sign reading “Donate to the Santa Clarita Homeless Shelter.”  

“The key is not the donations, but it is the outreach to the community from the volunteers who table on select nights,” said Foley. “They educate the community about who we are and what we want to accomplish.”

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