Each year for nearly two decades, the Someone Cares Soup Kitchen has served Thanksgiving dinner to hundreds.The holidays are a time for family, and Merle Hatleberg has a big one.
The founder of Someone Cares Soup Kitchen in Costa Mesa has dedicated her life to making everyone in the community a part of her family. Hatleberg's impact on the community is even more evident around the holidays, when volunteers come out in droves and hundreds of homeless people and less fortunate families spend their afternoon feasting on gourmet food.
"It takes a team," said soup kitchen manager Shannon Santos, Hatleberg's granddaughter.
The soup kitchen, which opened its doors for Thanksgiving lunch at noon on Thursday, had enough turkey, stuffing, cranberries, green beans, bread and pumpkin pie to feed 800. About 130 volunteers, including 40 employees from PacifiCare, worked four shifts throughout the day, setting up the tables, helping prepare and serve the food, and cleaning up afterward.