Pathways to Care (PTC), a medical respite care center serving homeless veterans and non-veteran men and women, held its 3rd Annual Soup Bowl Supper fundraiser in the Parish Life Center at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church, Altamonte Springs Saturday, October 24. The event raised more than $200,000 – a 30% increase over the previous year and hosted 430 guests. Over 98% of the income generated will be used to support PTC, one of a few medical respite care centers in the nation that serve homeless veterans and non-veteran adults.
Guests were greeted by staff members of Pathways to Care, a program of Catholic Charities of Central Florida, while listening to a live guitar performance and sampling wine in the luminary-lit courtyard before entering the venue. Ellis Feaster of Z88.3 Radio, emcee for the evening, invited guests to bid on the 120 silent auction items to raise much needed funds for Pathways to Care. Guests also enjoyed light appetizers, wine, and over 15 varieties of soups and desserts donated by area restaurants and catering companies. Soup was served in the “Soup Kitchen” by Most Reverend John Noonan, Bishop, Diocese of Orlando; Reverend John Bluett, Founder of Pathways to Care; Rabbi Moe Kaprow; Bob Dallari, Seminole County Commissioner; and others along with the Pathways to Care Board members.
The evening’s program included keynote speaker, Dawn Zinger, Administrator of Pathways to Care, and two residents – Debra and Dennis, both veterans who credited Pathways to Care with saving their lives. In Dawn’s presentation, she described PTC as, “A place where miracles occur every day.” and went on to say, “during the past 12 months, approximately 200 homeless veteran and non-veterans have been admitted to PTC because they don’t have the same luxuries many of us take for granted. Their home may be under a bridge, in the woods or in a storage unit where there is no water, limited food – not the environment in which to heal. PTC provides a medical safe haven for these individuals with 24/7 care.” Dennis spoke about the love and care he receives at PTC and included a “sing-along” as part of his presentation as he led the room full of guests in several verses of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot by Wallace Willis. He had every guest on their feet singing along!
A live auction offering several big-ticket items including a 7-night stay in a 4-bedroom villa in Bantry, Ireland, high on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, roundtrip airline tickets and a custom designed 14K gold Tau cross necklace valued at $1200 rounded out the evening.
Kirstian Perez a senior at Lake Howell High School was awarded the Artistic Student Award by Seminole County Commissioner, Bob Dallari for designing the most unique soup bowl from all the student bowls submitted. He received a $100 prize for his creation. The 2ndAnnual Making a Difference Award was presented by Reverend John Bluett to a surprised Joe Buranosky, former Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Central Florida for his support over the years. As guests left at the end of the evening, each was presented with a gift of a hand-created ceramic soup bowl made by area high school and professional artists as a thank-you for their support.
Pathways to Care is a 40 bed medical respite care center dedicated to providing healthcare, housing, and hope to Central Florida’s vulnerable homeless veterans and non-veteran men and women in need of a safe environment to heal from serious illness or injury. Pathways to Care is a licensed assisted living facility that opened in 2003 to support their residents in achieving greater health, self-sufficiency and housing stability. On average, 85% of all Pathways to Care residents relocate with family or other independent living options after leaving the facility.