RIVERSIDE, CA -- The 7th annual HomeAid Inland Empire Full Bellies, Warm Hearts community outreach event was held recently at two locations to benefit more than 100 school-aged children who reside at homeless shelters in Hemet and San Bernardino.
The children, who live with their families and single mothers at the Valley Restart Shelter in Hemet and Veronica’s Home of Mercy in San Bernardino, were treated to a day of fun and enjoyment, complete with food, arcade games, prizes, face painting, balloon artists, and family photos, as well backpacks, school supplies, new coats and new shoes.
“Our annual Full Bellies, Warm Hearts community outreach program gives us as well as our volunteers and many supporters a chance to show the women, children and families at the shelters where the events are staged that the community cares about them and wants to help in any way we can as they face the challenge of finding a permanent place to live and work to rebuild their lives” commented Ray Osborne, Executive Director of HomeAid Inland Empire. “The many volunteers who have helped us greatly in putting these events together over the past seven years have all told us again and again that the happiness and the smiles on the faces of the children at the shelters for a few hours during the time when these events are going on is a very satisfying and rewarding experience for them to witness,” he added.
Red Robin restaurant managers and employees from several Southern California locations joined in to be part of this year’s HAIE Full Bellies, Warm Hearts community outreach event by collecting more than 80 backpacks filled with school supplies and more than 500 canned food items, as well as cooking the food served at both events and making a $2,000 donation to HomeAid Inland Empire to help cover the cost of buying the new shoes and coats given out to the children at the two locations where the events were held to help get the children who reside at the shelters ready to go back to school.
“Ray Osborne and I met a few months ago at the Riverside Walk to End Homelessness, and I was immediately impressed when he told me about the outstanding work that HomeAid Inland Empire is doing to create shelter facilities and provide other support to homeless men, women and children in our community, and I wanted to get our team at Red Robin involved with the organization,” commented Andy Mulz, Regional Operations Director for Red Robin.
“When Ray told me about the Full Bellies, Warm Hearts event, I thought this would be a great way for our managers and employee volunteers to help support the housing and community outreach mission of HomeAid in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, and we are already committed to making this an annual partnership” he added.
Generous financial support from several sources, including a grant funding from the San Manuel Tribe of Mission Indians and the Children’s Fund, provided additional critically-important funds needed to stage the annual HAIE community outreach event.
Significant contributions of money and volunteers from HomeAid Inland Empire’s corporate partners Bank of America, US Bank, Union Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, Lennar, CalAtlantic Homes, Richmond American Homes, imortgage, Fidelity National Title, 123 Home Keys, All Southern California Escrow, Complete Builder Service, and Michael Baker International also helped make the events a huge success. Reay Design Studios provided the event photography and Fusion Sign & Designs created and donated all of the signage.
The Arrowhead Credit Union Arrowheart Foundation, and the Baldy View and Riverside County Chapters of the Southern California Building Industry Association (BIA) also donated a large number of the backpacks filled with school supplies for the events
Stater Bros. Markets again provided all the food needed to serve the more than 250 children, parents and volunteers in attendance at the two Full Bellies events.
HomeAid Inland Empire, the non-profit charity of the Baldy View and Riverside County BIA Chapters, works with various service provider partners to renovate and build shelters to temporarily house homeless individuals and families in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
Since 1990, HomeAid Inland Empire has completed 37 homeless shelter facilities in the two-county area, housing 1,027 beds, valued at more than $17.4 million with the Inland Empire homebuilding industry providing over $6.7 million in funding and in-kind donations of labor and materials.
The shelter facilities and beds created by HAIE provide short-term housing for men, women and children who need a safe place to stay while they work to regain self-sufficiency. More than 3,000 homeless individuals and families throughout the Inland Empire are served each year at these facilities.
For more information about HomeAid Inland Empire go to organization’s website at www.homeaidie.org.