To many Orange County residents, December means wearing more than one layer of clothing, frequent shopping trips to South Coast Plaza or Fashion Island, a warm fireplace to sit by, and a heart-filled Christmas dinner.
But what this picturesque image often covers up is the rise in empty stomachs locally. Orange County, one of the wealthiest counties in the country, has more than 35,000 homeless people--and half of them are children.
Driven by the conviction that no one should go to bed hungry, Someone Cares Soup Kitchen in Costa Mesa is committed to bring change to Orange County.
Determined to feed those who are unable to feed themselves, local business ownerCorey Donaldson
has announced a challenge:50k in 50 days
for the soup kitchen.
Last year, Donaldson and his crew successfully raised $40,000 in 40 days. The campaign allowed Someone Cares Soup Kitchen to fill 450 backpacks with more than 14,000 items, give away more than 3,000 new toys, and host a holiday dinner for 1,200 people.
The money allowed the soup kitchen to give on a bigger level, supporting the ongoing process of the place as well as its tutoring center for at-risk kids.
With the number of people needing a daily meal escalating, and the donations decreasing over the past year, every dollar of the 50K is crucial for this fundraiser.
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This kitchen has served about 300 meals per day, seven days a week, for 20 years. It all began with a woman who cared enough to pay it forward. Merle Hatleberg made her first huge pot of soup on July 15, 1986. Prior to this, Merle was the Costa Mesa site director for the Orange County Seniors Program, feeding many of the hungry elderly, while simultaneously trying to feed those who didn't qualify as senoirs for feeding.
Most of the those who didn't qualify were children, and it was impossible for Merle to let them go hungry. But scraps of food she was giving away weren't enough--so she did something about it. She bought a huge pot, made soup, and fed 30 people. The Soup Kitchen was born.
It feeds those who who can't feed themselves, as the mission reads, "the homeless, the unemployed, the working poor, the mentally challenged, the physically challenged, the senior citizens and most important of all--the children."
The "Someone Cares Soup Kitchen Ultimate Happy Hour Fundraiser," kick-off event will be held from 6-9 pm on Wednesday, Dec. 15 at Chateau Nightclub lounge in Irvine.