Homeless are treated to a holiday breakfast

Community, church group and Scout troops make season bright for 65 people without housing.Some 65 homeless persons were treated to a hearty morning meal and practical gifts at the fourth annual holiday breakfast, held Monday at Laguna Presbyterian Church.

Ann Richardson of the Laguna Relief and Resource Center, Rick Shoemaker and the church outreach committee organized the event. More than 50 volunteers gathered food, gifts, entertainment and decorations and sat with guests at each table.

Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts worked together to serve the breakfast and distribute gifts. Boy Scouts from Troop 35 helped set up tables and chairs, served food, and cleaned up afterward.

"Three-fourths of them had seconds, and some even had thirds," Boy Scout Robbie Baptista said.

Prior to the event, some of the Boy Scouts had reservations about spending time with the homeless, but after a talk by homeless advocate Don Black, the Scouts eagerly signed up to help.

Members of Girl Scout Troop 283 made bags with donated toothpaste, brushes, razors, shaving cream and socks, and decorated each bag.

Girl Scout Troop 575 made centerpieces for each table, which were covered with tablecloths and had a placemat for each guest.

Ed Sauls, Laguna Resource board member, emceed the event, which had entertainment from the Top of the World guitar and chorus.

Doug Miller played Christmas favorites on his violin, and Dave McMahon accompanied Suzy Campbell on piano as she led community singing.

One guest played saxophone. Richards said, "He was on the streets for 25 years, and is now employed. We are so proud of him."

Café Zinc contributed bread and muffins. Community members brought platters of eggs and hash browns, enough that leftovers were taken to the Monday night Café Pacifica in Heisler Park, where food is regularly brought to share with homeless persons.

"There was an overwhelming amount of community support -- so many different groups in the community helped," said Erica Waidley, who organized food donations and supervised the kitchen. With an anonymous donation to the Outreach Committee of Laguna Presbyterian Church, Shoemaker purchased 40 sleeping bags, knit caps, scarves and 50 pairs of new shoes.

Volunteers Fred Sharman and Lorna Cohen gave each guest a numbered nametag, and gifts were distributed.

-- Ceil Sharman

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