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Published by SherriLCruz

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Published by: SherriLCruz on Feb 04, 2013
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Soup Kitchen Serves Needy with Help from Segerstrom, Wahoo’sSHERRI CRUZSunday, April 11, 2010Chef Sanchez: “I never thought when I was growing up I’d ever berunning a soup kitchen”Someone Cares Soup Kitchen started in the 1980s with a 45-gallon potand 100-pound sacks of lima beans.A young Anton Segerstrom, now general manager of South Coast Plaza,delivered the beans from his family farm to Merle Hatleberg’s soupkitchen in Costa Mesa.Hatleberg used the beans to make soup to feed the hundreds of peoplewho visited her kitchen each day.She died two years ago. Shannon Santos, her granddaughter, carries onthe charity.Someone Cares Soup Kitchen serves about 300 people a day, seven daysa week. On holidays, lines stretch out the door and down a nearby alley.The soup kitchen’s not out to preach or fix anyone, according to Santos.It takes people as they are and gives them what they need—food and the basics: shoes, coats, bandages, toiletries and similar items.“They have no agenda other than to help others in need,” Segerstromsaid.Segerstrom has been involved with the soup kitchen for about 25 years.He serves on the advisory board.South Coast Plaza occasionally holds fundraisers for it.
Segerstrom also makes a point of volunteering at the kitchen with hischildren. He and hiskids served desserts last Thanks-giving.“Basically, we just show up,” he said.The soup kitchen has a soft touch.Many of the “guests,” which include children, seniors and veterans, areknown by name.“We like to get to know them and get to know what their particular needs are,” Santos said.Someone Cares Soup Kitchen operates on a $500,000 yearly budget.Santos said her grandmother was known to say, “I know how to cut a penny four different ways.”The soup kitchen’s hub—a tiny kitchen—is stuffed with donated foodand supplies.The dining room seats about 75 people. The soup kitchen, whichemploys four full-time workers and seven part-timers, also giveshomework assistance to 45 kids a week in a small partitioned area nextto the dining room.The soup kitchen relies on volunteers and is run by many of Santos’family members. Teri Hatleberg, Santos’ mother, is board president.Santos’ aunt serves on the board as well. Other family members alsohelp out.Other supporters include the Lee family, owner of Santa Ana’s Wahoo’s
Fish Taco. Wahoo’s and the Lee family donate food and financialsupport, in addition to items such as clothing, Chief Executive MingoLee said.The Lees sold the soup kitchen’s building on 19th Street to Hatleberg in1997 at a steep discount.“That building used to belong to my parents,” Lee said. “We helpedthem get creative financing in place.”Ed Eaton, a semiretired Newport Beach mortgage banker, helped pay off the soup kitchen’s $33,000 mortgage.Santos’ mother, Teri Hatleberg, used to work for Eaton.Eaton and his wife were passionate about expanding the after schooltutoring at the kitchen. But founder Merle Hatleberg was “old school,”he said.“She didn’t want to expand the soup kitchen to the tutoring programuntil she paid off the debt of the restaurant,” he said. “My wife and Isaid, ‘We’re just going to pay off the mortgage.’”Corey Donaldson, who owns Costa Mesa-based Avalon Properties, leadsholiday fundraising for the soup kitchen.Donaldson also blogs about the soup kitchen and its guests.He helped raise money to revamp the soup kitchen office and plans for an “extreme kitchen makeover.” The soup kitchen has a small but loyalcadre of other supporters. A man known as “Hugh,” in his 80s, has sent$100 checks every month for the past 17 years.“We invite him to everything, but he never comes,” Santos said.

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