Bridge to Home had a sold-out “Comedy Night” at the Laemmle Theatre on Thursday night in Newhall, fundraising over $5,000 to support its services for those who are homeless or vulnerable to becoming homeless.
Bridge to Home is a nonprofit that was founded in the Santa Clarita Valley over 25 years ago. Originally it was known as the Santa Clarita Development Corp. Its mission is to help vulnerable individuals and families in need with meals, shelter, supportive services, mental health services and case management services. They also help individuals with permanent affordable housing.
The comedy night fundraiser was produced and organized by Mandy O’Conner, director of development, and board member Alec Weichel. Weichel and O’Connor both found Bridge to Home on their own account, but had a common goal: To make an impact and be of service locally.
After dabbling in acting and standup comedy in Los Angeles, Weichel moved back to Santa Clarita and attended the Soup for the Soul gala that Bridge to Home hosts every year. There, he said, he discovered the impactful work they do and wanted to be a part of it.
“People who are unhoused … has particularly tugged on my heartstrings,” Weichel said. “I think, you know, being able to bring laughter to the world is a really beautiful thing … it’s really just two of my favorite things, which is being of service and making people laugh. Since I was a kid, that’s always been super important to me.”
O’Connor has worked in the nonprofit industry for a decade in the education sector. When she moved back to Santa Clarita she wanted to make an impact and began working with Bridge to Home to further its mission and growth. She coordinates events and plans fundraising to shed light on the organization and how high in demand their work truly is.
“Last year we served over 900 individuals. We have doubled the amount of people we served in just three years. We would like to continue on that journey,” said O’Connor.
The duo’s hard work resulted in a sold-out comedy night. Over $5,000 was raised for Bridge to Home, according to Weichel. Comedians present for the fundraiser were Ray Lau, Chase O’ Donnell, Cole Saleh and Laurie Kilmartin.
“This is our first time doing something like this. I hope to be able to do it twice a year moving forward, one in the spring, one in the fall,” said Weichel.
Anjali Doshi and Niraj Doshi, attendees of the event, said they learned about Bridge to Home through their son who is trying to find a way high school students can help the organization through volunteer work, which is in the early stages.
Bridge to Home is building a homeless shelter in Santa Clarita to provide housing for 60 individuals and eight families, and hopes to provide service to over 1,000 people every year with the new facility, according to the organization’s website.