Fundraiser draws enthusiastic crowd of more than 200
■ Robin Underwood / Reporter
Valley Restart continues it’s enterprise to fight the homeless crisis within the Hemet and San Jacinto Valley. On Sept. 29, Valley Restart offered tickets to sail aboard the Golden Era’s California replica clipper ship, the Star of California, for an evening of live entertainment and a savory dinner with silent and live auctions taking place nearby. All proceeds went directly to Valley Restarts shelter, “helping those who want to help themselves.”
Valley Restart was established in 1990 and is funded by the community. Some 88 percent of the residents who leave the program go on to more stable housing. A very intensive program is offered for those involved during their 90 days of involvement, including random drug screenings, counseling, savings programs, and more. Valley Restart is the only homeless shelter in the San Jacinto Valley.
Saturday’s fundraiser was a big success, and some 200 of the $75 seats were spoken for by local members of the community, while the Valley’s local leaders on City Council, Chambers of Commerce, and business community helped turn the benefit into an evening of fun and networking.
Welcoming guests as they came aboard the cruise ship was Captain Quinn Hawley, a retired Navy captain, wearing his full dress whites. Also on hand was cruise director Cory Stephens who graduated from Hemet High School and went on to work for Disney Entertainment and the Disney Cruise Lines. He was pleased to return to his home port of Hemet to support Valley Restart.
The beautiful grounds of Golden Era Productions proved truly astonishing at sunset. The evening light cast across the base of rolling hills situated directly where the studio’s California clipper ship is based. The whole event was well worth the modest cost of the dinner tickets.
Golden Era Productions (part of the Church of Scientology) along with the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Valle Vista Assembly of God, two Hemet City Councilmembers and Valley Restart joined together to host the fundraiser. Besides Golden Era, sponsors included the Soboba Foundation, Riverside County Supervisor Chuck Washington, Steve Di Memmo, the Bank of Hemet, Brubaker Culton, Pechanga Casino, George & Krystyne Gray, Hemet Elks Lodge #1740, Domenigoni Barton Properties, and The Valley Chronicle.
Hemet City Councilwoman and the chairperson of the Homeless Valley Task Force, Bonnie Wright, noted, “The success of this event was due to the city and community’s commitment working together in addressing this critical issue plaguing our valley. The city council and task force are proud to support the great work of Valley Restart in alignment with developing a strategic permanent solution for those in need.”
Valley Restart has a structured program developed for those homeless who want to help themselves. They have nine family units, a five-person dorm for males and one for females. For the past 25 years they have helped the homeless. Today, some 88 percent of the residents successfully leave to a higher level of housing and self-sufficiency.
Additionally Valley Restart offers an evening meal from its commercial kitchen to those in need in our community each evening at 6 p.m. and nightly, volunteers from 35-40 churches and service organizations purchase, prepare and serve a home-cooked meal. Annually they serve more than 50,000 meals. A “Bus Ticket Home” program, begun in 2004, has reconnected hundreds of persons displaced in our valley who have loved-ones elsewhere in the United States.
During the evening’s festivities a presentation was made to Chuck and Therese Steadman who have lived in the valley for 38 years and were acknowledged for their work with Valley Restart for the past 20, including serving on the Valley Restart Shelter Board of Directors. They received certificates from Congressman Raul Ruiz, State Assemblyman Chad Mayes, County Supervisor Chuck Washington, and the Hemet and San Jacinto City Councils.
The evening’s entertainment was provided by the Golden Era Musicians with guest singer, Giovanni Yepremian from Destination Coffee Bar & Bistro, followed by a live auction which included items such as Laker game tickets, an autographed basketball signed by the entire Lakers Team of 2018, two nights at the historic Hidden Lodge in Idyllwild (where Elvis filmed Kid Galahad) and a private sailing charter.
With the community support that continues to flow in, it will ensure that Valley Restart families and their children move quickly from homelessness to self-sufficiency. People, businesses, churches and organizations working together is what will solve the homeless crisis.
To help Valley Restart and their mission to curb homelessness, the local community is always welcome to donate time or funding and invites participation in its monthly, first-week-of-the month Valley Restart Fundraiser at the Golden Era Golf Course. All of this and more information can be found on the Valley Restart website, www.valleyrestart.info.