Care is shared at soup kitchen

Volunteers prepare gifts and goods for the less fortunate in the community. Massive drive is part of campaign to raise $40,000 in 40 days.

December 19, 2009|By Brianna Bailey

About 200 volunteers gathered at a Costa Mesa car dealership on Saturday to wrap Christmas presents for needy children and stuff backpacks full of goodies like magnifying glasses and pill boxes for senior citizens.

“It feels good to help people who aren’t as fortunate as the rest of Orange County this Christmas and let them know that they aren’t forgotten,” said Costa Mesa Resident Gena Van Horne, who volunteered her time on Saturday to wrap toy cars and Barbie dolls for local children.

The massive donation drive was part of the Someone Cares Soup Kitchen’s campaign to raise $40,000 in 40 days to help the kitchen keep up with an increase in demand for its services this holiday season.


The project is the brainchild of Costa Mesa businessman Corey Donaldson.

“I walked into the soup kitchen last year and said ‘how can I help,’” Donaldson said.

He ended up spearheading a campaign to raise $30,000 in 30 days for the nonprofit, and has raised the bar to $40,000 this year.

Volunteers on Saturday wrapped 500 Christmas presents, and stuffed about 450 backpacks with more than 12,000 items as part of the event.

The backpacks and Christmas presents will be given away to local needy families at a Christmas party at the soup kitchen on Wednesday.

Donaldson’s campaign has raised about $32,000 so far this year. He hopes to reach his goal of $40,000 by Jan. 31.

Someone Cares serves about 10,600 hot meals each month, mostly to needy senior citizens and low-income families who live near the nonprofit in Westside Costa Mesa.

The soup kitchen has seen a growing need for its services in the community over the past year and a half because of the economic downturn, said Shannon Santos, executive director of Someone Cares.

“It’s a double-edged sword because we have see an increase in demand, as well as a smaller amount of donations coming in,” Santos said.

The soup kitchen used to serve about 235 to 250 meals a day, but now dishes up more than 300 meals a day, Santos said.

“Now I see people come in who I might mistake as being there to volunteer, but are actually there for a meal,” Santos said.

How To Help

To make a donation to the $40,000 in 40 days campaign, visit

Or write a check payable to “Someone Cares” and send it to:

Avalon Properties

c/o Corey Donaldson

1927 Harbor Blvd #610

Costa Mesa, CA 92627

For more information on the Someone Cares Soup Kitchen, visit or call (949) 548-8861

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