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Someone cares for soup kitchen

Association's decision to donate back to the community leads to an upgraded kitchen for a Costa Mesa soup kitchen.

February 08, 2011|By Alexandra Baird, Special to the Daily Pilot

"The beautiful thing is it's kind of multi-layered," she said. "It's going to increase the capacity and efficiency of how we do things. We're very much a volunteer-based organization, so we now have additional work stations where we'll be able to accommodate more volunteers in the kitchen."

The soup kitchen's founder, Merle Hatleberg, had long dreamed of redoing the kitchen, Santos said.

Restaurant Facility Management Assn. board members attended a ribbon cutting at the newly renovated kitchen Friday.

"There were tears on both sides, I have to say," Tomson said. "I'm running an association and trying to keep the members happy, the members are running restaurants trying to keep their customers happy, so it was neat to do something outside of ourselves and bigger than us. It was extremely gratifying to see what a difference we made."

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Celebrating 25 years

It all began in June 1986 with Hatleberg's purchase of a large pot. The apparition of hungry, school-aged children on her doorstep at work had moved Hatleberg — then a site director for a county-run program feeding destitute senior citizens — to invest some of the little money at her disposal.

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She used it to cook up enough soup to feed about 30. And so was born Someone Cares Soup Kitchen.

In 2010, the year after Hatleberg died at age 83, Someone Cares served 116,000 meals to homeless and other destitute people, Santos said.

Now, the soup kitchen will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a fundraising benefit dinner June 11

.

Santos said Someone Cares is always looking for volunteers. More information is available at someonecareskitchen.org.

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