Annual Soup for the Soul gala celebrates local impact

Homes made out of the leftover wood from the new Bridge to Home shelter facility as centerpieces for the dining tables at the Soup for the Soul annual gala on Saturday at the Hyatt Regency of Valencia. Katherine Quezada/ The Signal
Homes made out of the leftover wood from the new Bridge to Home shelter facility as centerpieces for the dining tables at the Soup for the Soul annual gala on Saturday at the Hyatt Regency of Valencia. Katherine Quezada/ The Signal
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Bridge to Home hosted its annual Soup for the Soul gala on Saturday at the Hyatt Regency of Valencia where attendees bid on auction items to further support the organization’s mission: reducing homelessness in the Santa Clarita Valley.  

Three hundred attendees including local dignitaries arrived at the annual celebration and fundraiser to support the organization’s work. The nonprofit was founded 25 years ago and was originally known as the Santa Clarita Development Corp. It provides a variety of services such as meals, shelter, mental health and case management services.  

The gala had 125 items for auction, and everything earned would go to the organization’s services so it could continue supporting local individuals who need additional assistance.  

“This event helps fund the operational [side]. The money we get from places like the county does not cover everything. We must do fundraising and [apply] for grants to close the gap,” said Karen Maleck-Whiteley, vice president of the board of directors for Bridge to Home.  

The gala served as a celebration of the many milestones the organization has reached and its growth over the past 10 years and for what was ahead. 

“It’s not only a fundraiser. It’s to bring more volunteers, bring more awareness, bring forward a presentation of what Bridge to Home is and build those strong relationships,” said Mandy O’ Conner, director of development.  

Bridge to Home is in the final stages of finishing its new housing facility that will house 60 individuals and eight families. They estimate the new shelter will provide service to over 1,000 people every year, according to the Bridge to Home website. The shelter is scheduled to open in June.  

To commemorate the occasion, every table had a small village of homes made from the leftover wood used to build the new shelter, said Maleck-Whiteley. 

Dodie was one of two Bridge to Home recipients who shared their success stories and the trials and tribulations they endured before getting back on their feet with the help from Bridge to Home.  

Dodie had her life savings stolen from her and the situation left her living in her car with her dog Bella. Bridge to Home helped her get back on her feet, and throughout the journey she suffered health complications, but the organization helped her with taking care of her dog when she was hospitalized, paperwork, and other tasks, stated the event program.  

Now Dodie has begun a new chapter in her life. Her health is improving, she has the resources to live on her own, and dedicates this new chapter to Bridge to Home.  

Bridge to Home’s Soup for the Soul annual gala attendees received their bidding numbers for the live auction on Saturday at the Hyatt Regency of Valencia. Katherine Quezada/The Signal
Bridge to Home’s Soup for the Soul annual gala attendees received their bidding numbers for the live auction on Saturday at the Hyatt Regency of Valencia. Katherine Quezada/The Signal
Bridge to Home’s Soup for the Soul annual gala had attendees looking at the silent auction items to help fundraise for the organization’s programs on Saturday at the Hyatt Regency of Valencia. Katherine Quezada/The Signal
Bridge to Home’s Soup for the Soul annual gala had attendees looking at the silent auction items to help fundraise for the organization’s programs on Saturday at the Hyatt Regency of Valencia. Katherine Quezada/The Signal
From left: Bridge to Home Vice President of the Board of Directors Karen Maleck-Whiteley and  Director of Development Mandy O’ Conner welcoming attendees at the annual Soup for the Soul gala at the Hyatt Regency Theater. Katherine Quezada/The Signal
From left: Bridge to Home Vice President of the Board of Directors Karen Maleck-Whiteley and Director of Development Mandy O’ Conner welcoming attendees at the annual Soup for the Soul gala at the Hyatt Regency Theater. Katherine Quezada/The Signal

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