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New Hope for the Homeless

The Samaritan Center offers a road back for families who have hit hard times.

Samaritan Center residents and those taking part in the after-care program celebrate the start of another school year with a party that includes a barbecue and plenty of music.

Samaritan Center residents and those taking part in the after-care program celebrate the start of another school year with a party that includes a barbecue and plenty of music.

What do you think of when you hear the words “soup bowl?” Shotsi Lajoie hopes the first thing that comes to mind is the Samaritan Center’s major fundraising event. What began in 1992 shortly after the non-profit organization was formed has become an annual community-wide celebration of fellowship and giving for the greater good.

“That first year we probably had three or four places that served soup,” says Shotsi. “It’s grown to over 30 public locations, with a lot of businesses and hundreds of volunteers involved. Last year we served between four and five thousand people and raised $50,000. Considering it only costs $5 for a bowl of soup, that’s a pretty amazing figure.”

As someone who has been involved with the Samaritan Center since the beginning, she is passionate about the mission of the organization, which provides long-term transitional housing and guidance for homeless families in Indian River County, preparing them to live independently.

Read the entire article in the May 2010 issue