Local artist teams with shelter to “Restore Hope”

by Alexis Sonner 0

If you’re looking for a way to help those in need, the opportunity is right here in your home town.

A service called Bridge to Home aims to help restore hope in the lives of those in the homeless community.

The Executive Director, Tim Davis, first got involved with helping the homeless when he was asked to help feed people in Waikiki in 1980. Since then, he has moved to Santa Clarita and helped found the Santa Clarita Community Development Corporation, later renamed Bridge to Home.

The foundation offers a variety of services designed to help clients achieve stable health, residency and employment. It also provides a place to rest and shower, and it serves three fresh meals for more than 40 people each day. Bridge to Home also offers onsite healthcare and education.

Many people in the community have a desire to serve, but just aren’t quite sure how to get started. Davis suggests a few different approaches when it comes to helping out, saying “The best way is to get involved. See our website (btohome.com) for many ways to volunteer — drive a van, serve a meal, be a host for a morning or evening, join a committee or the Board of Directors.”

A photograph taken by Gary Choppe' for the Souls of Hope Project
A photograph taken by Gary Choppe’ for the Souls of Hope Project

It’s obvious that there are many ways to serve those in need in the community, but one man is using his skill and creativity to help in a unique way.

Photographer, Gary Choppe’ created a compelling exhibit using photographs he took of the many “Souls of Hope” throughout the community.

“I was inspired to create this project because of the need that we have to create awareness in Santa Clarita of the homeless situation,” Choppe’ said. “To date, it is estimated that we have up to one thousand displaced families and individuals in the valley. Many are living in the wash, behind buildings and some in trash cans…”

Bridge to Home offers shelter to so many people facing these harsh realities during the months of November through March; however, Santa Clarita is in need of a shelter that is open all year long.

Choppe’ told Cougar News, “I wanted to tell [the homeless’] intimate stories of the need to keep the facility open year round, and The Souls of Hope Project hopefully will open our community eyes for that need.”

Davis is very hopeful that relief services for those in need will flourish in the near future, saying, “Very exciting times are coming in the next two years as we work with the county and city to locate a place for and open a year round shelter complex.”

Davis and Choppe’ are living proof that all it takes is a few willing individuals taking the initiative to make the community a better place.

Be sure to get involved by serving those in need in the Santa Clarita community, and check out The Souls of Hope Project Gallery Exhibition at the Valencia Library, now through March 5, 2014.

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