This article originally appeared in the
Ventura County Star.
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Over 500 hand-painted bowls were displayed at Many Mansions’ Bowls of Hope fundraiser Sunday at California Lutheran University, where for $35, guests could choose a bowl to take home and eat as much soup, salad, bread and dessert donated by area restaurants.
Heather McLeod, community and public relations coordinator of nonprofit Many Mansions, explained the bowls were painted at bowl parties thrown throughout the year.
Karen Kolosieke, of Westlake Village, Anne Saffell, of Thousand Oaks, and Sharon McDonald, of Agoura Hills, had been to one of those painting parties and were hoping to find the bowls they had painted to take home with them, but couldn’t.
“It felt good that it was gone,” said Kolosieke, who ended up with a bowl that said “imagine,” hope” and “dream.”
The threesome is very involved with the Thousand Oaks-based Many Mansions.
“It is a wonderful charity,” Kolosieke said.
Bowls of Hope is Many Mansions’ only annual fundraiser, which also brings awareness of homelessness and the need for affordable housing in the community. The proceeds fund the children and adult service programs.
Programs for adults help them get back on their feet and services for children include an after-school homework and tutoring club.
The organization also has a teen club, and 10 members volunteered to serve the dessert bar.
As a resident, 12-year-old Caci Hearne said she wanted to give back to the organization.
“They help us with our homework, and they have a summer camp program and lots of cool things like Teen Club and Girl Talk and FAC (Friday Activities Club),” Hearne said.
The Rev. Betty Stapleford, of Thousand Oaks, said that as a retired minister she was pleased she could finally attend the event before all the soup was gone. She had just chosen a bowl at the entrance.
“I just looked at one that spoke to me in some way,” Stapleford said. “I think there is something about this design that looks like a growing thing and it suggests hope to me. I think this will be something very special to me.”
She said she has been a longtime supporter of Many Mansions.
“This is a great organization,” Stapleford said. “I’ve been able to help some folks get into their housing, and it is truly amazing.”
Mary Freed, of Thousand Oaks, was on her second bowl of soup. Her plan was to go down the line for more.
“I started with the red lentil from Ali Babas (Newbury Park) because I actually go to Ali Babas and buy the red lentil soup,” Freed said. “But when it got down to the soupy part, I had the corn chowder guy (from Lazy Dog Cafe) throw in the solid chunks of potato and corn.”
As a past president of the Organic Garden Club, Freed said she put the spring and summer garden in at the Hillcrest Mansions facility.
“It’s time to put in the winter garden,” she said.
After Agoura Hills City Council members Denis Weber and William Koehler served soup, they enjoyed doing some “sampling,” as they put it. Both agreed they enjoyed the chicken tortilla soup from Snapper Jack’s Taco Shack.
Weber said he’d been part of past efforts by Many Mansions and Rick Schroeder, the nonprofit’s executive director, to open more homes for families.
“And he’s been talking to the city council about possibly doing Many Mansions within Agoura Hills, so if you see what he’s done for Thousand Oaks, it’s God’s blessing, I think,” he said.