Café Date Nites support local low-income seniors

CARLSBAD — For the superstitious, Friday the 13th is a day of bad luck that’s best avoided. For The Angel’s Depot in Vista, it seemed as good a night as any to launch Cafe Date Nite, a fundraiser to support its efforts to feed the impoverished elderly in San Diego County.
Anyone 21 or older was invited to “bring your favorite date … or meet your next date.” For $35, each guest received a buffet dinner and beverage, compliments of Sun Wireless, and one free drawing ticket for a raffle that included an Albertsons gift basket, a vacation from Holiday Travel and, with Valentine’s Day looming, wine and truffles. Despite the cold and rain, more than 30 people gathered for the fundraiser at the Broken Yolk Cafe in La Costa.
Carlsbad resident Susan Hall, founder and executive director of The Angel’s Depot, said she only expected between 25 and 40 people since it was the kick-off event. “It was the dry run, but everybody had a great time,” she said. “We hope to reach 150 to 200 eventually.”
Carlsbad City Councilman Keith Blackburn and his wife, Dawn, were among the first to arrive. Throughout his campaign, Blackburn said he would donate his council salary to charity. Rebecca Moore, his campaign manager who also attended Cafe Date Nite, said Blackburn planned to donate his first paycheck to The Angel’s Depot that night.
“It was a surprise,” Hall said. “We were talking and he said, ‘I want you to have this,’ and it was a check for $1,500. It was amazing.” Hall said she plans to use the money to underwrite the next Cafe Date Nite on Feb. 27.
Since it was founded in June 2006, The Angel’s Depot has distributed nearly 16,000 free food-for-a-week emergency meal boxes to local seniors whose monthly income is $950 or less.
“They fought our wars, paid taxes, built families, businesses, schools and churches,” the organization’s Web site states. “They handed down a legacy of freedom, hope and opportunity to the next generations . . . and yet, over 50,000 of these brave senior citizens live below poverty level in San Diego County.
“Many suffer from malnutrition and must choose between buying food and medicine each month. They are a proud generation who suffer in silence. We call these deserving senior citizens our ‘quiet heroes.’”
According to the Web site, more than 70 percent of the recipients are women whose incomes “died with their husbands.”
Hall said she plans to host a Cafe Date Nite every second and fourth Friday.
“Rather than put on big galas that are costly and labor-intensive, we decided to hold these smaller gatherings,” she said. Another new fundraiser is the S.O.S. — or Save Our Seniors — pledge campaign that requests a small donation from many people.
“If a lot of people pledge a little bit, The Angel’s Depot will survive,” Hall said.
For more information or to donate, visit theangelsdepot.org.

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