Bridge To Home’s Soup For The Soul Bring’s Awareness To Homelessness -- November 24, 2014

Bridge To Home volunteers and leaders hosted their second annual Soup for the Soul, bringing dozens of Santa Clarita Valley residents to the Santa Clarita Valley Winter Shelter in Newhall Sunday.

“(The fundraiser) helps supplement the cost of us providing not only the emergency shelter for three and a half months in the winter but our year-round homeless services,” said Board of Directors President Hunt Braly. “I joined the board three years ago and have lived in the community since 1989.  It was clear to me that we need to (help) the homeless issue.”

Bridge To Home leaders expected more than 100 people to attend the event.  Attendees were given a tour of the facilities, could listen to live music, participate in a silent auction and enjoy soup provided by Wolf Creek and Salt Creek Grille.

“Just go through the community any day and you can see people that are obviously in need walking around our community seeking services,” Braly said. “Our job is to provide medical,dental, counseling and try to find housing for them.”

The Bridge To Home Santa Clarita Shelter can hold up to 60 people maximum every night from Nov. 24 through March 31, 2015.

“We have beds for 56 people and usually in the first week, we’re in the 30s, maybe 40 people show up as the word gets out to people that we’re opening, said Executive Director Tim Davis. “In a month, we’ll be running 50 a night and at the end of the year we’ll have about 52, 53 people a night. We have never turned anyone away.”

Bridge To Home officials are hoping that the Soup for the Soul event raised $20,000, all of which will go to the nonprofit.

“Basically we’re showcasing our services, which is not only the shelter but all of our other homeless services to the community. (Soup for the Soul) is kind of like an open house, it’s our biggest fundraiser for the year,” said Chairman Gary Choppe. “All of the proceeds go back into the program because it is a nonprofit. There a lot of programs that we put on — medical programs, dental programs and things of that nature.”

Bridge To Home officials offer several programs including the Santa Clarita Valley Winter Shelter, Beds For Family, the Sylmar Emergency Shelter and Families to Home.

“Almost every day, I have somebody telling me ‘We have a shelter? Where’s the shelter?,’” said Board Member Tammy McGivern. “They don’t know, so this is just one way that we can get the community involved. They can find out volunteer opportunities and they can see what this facility looks like and understand what our goals are. They can speak to board members and other volunteers that will help them understand what we’re here to do.”

Along with hosting events such as Soup for the Soul, Bridge To Home leaders are working to end  by 2016 by bringing Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s deputies, Bridge To Home volunteers and Santa Clarita city officials into the wash to analyze individual’s situations and help bring them out of homelessness.

The next Bridge To Home event will be their annual Open House on Dec. 7 where Santa Clarita community members can tour the Santa Clarita Winter Shelter and have the opportunity to donate materials including soap, shampoo and breakfast foods.

“We love to have people come in, see what we do, get acquainted with us, get a chance to see how it works and understand it better,” Davis said. “So the community is more aware that we have homeless people here and we have process to try and get them out of homelessness. We have a shelter and a nice warm bed.”