The clock is ticking on a local businessman's campaign to raise $40,000 in 40 days for the Someone Cares Soup Kitchen in Costa Mesa.
UPDATE: The campaign goes out with a bang as hundreds of volunteers are expected to work alongside such community leaders as Anton Segerstrom, Wahoo's Wing Lam, Eduardo Lee and Mingo Lee and other prominent folk donating time, money, clothing and more from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at Costa Mesa Honda, 2888 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa. More than 500 toys are to be wrapped, more than 450 backpacks filled with 12,000 items are to be assembled and a fleet of U-Haul trucks is to be stuffed with donations. Elves, Santa (and his "sled," the Ultimate Limo Bus) and DJ Johnny Vegas are scheduled to entertain.
Corey Donaldson, a Costa Mesa-based real estate investor who conducts something known as a "Mobile Home Bootcamp," last month announced the campaign that ends Dec. 20 for Someone Cares, the charity founded in 1986 by saintly Merle Hatleberg that has served 250-300 meals per day for more than 20 years. Last year, Donaldson raised $30,000 in 30 days for the nonprofit, which had made a desperate holiday-season plea for donations.
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His upping of the ante has been aided this year by an anonymous donor who has vowed to match, dollar for dollar, any contribution up to $10,000.
The money will certainly be put to good use as the kitchen serves meals daily. About 25 percent of those served are families with school-aged children, 30 percent are homeless, 20 percent are working poor or unemployed, 10 percent are mentally or physically challenged and 15 percent are senior citizens.
"We forget that there are plenty of people, right here in our own backyard, who desperately need our help," Donaldson says. "There are a lot of misperceptions about the type of people that benefit from the soup kitchen. These are people from cities including Costa Mesa, Newport, Irvine and Laguna Beach who are in a tough spot for some reason or another. Some are simply on a tight budget and can't afford groceries, and others have lost their jobs due to the economic crisis."
Donations, which can be made through PayPal, will be matched through Dec. 15 but accepted for the campaign until the 20th. You can find out more about it at Someone Care's "Happy Hour for the Holidays" 6-9 p.m. Wednesday at Woody's Wharf in Newport Beach, where DJ Johnny Paris spins, appetizers are served and more than 30 items are auctioned.