Facilities like shelters for the homeless must rely on at least some volunteer funding efforts. Government can't - and shouldn't - do it all, according to a Salt Lake waiter who organized a fund-raising effort among Old Spaghetti Factory employees.
"I decided that if something was going to happen it would have to (involve) me. Grass-root efforts are pretty much the backbone of homeless shelters. If I don't take an active interest, I don't know who will. Corporations can, but corporations aren't people. It is up to people to take care of people," said Darren Somsen, Midvale, a waiter at the Trolley Square restaurant.Somsen and 19 other waiters, seven busboys and two bartenders donated $1,484 - half of their tips for Friday night - to Patrick Hoagland, manager of the Salt Lake Family Homeless Shelter. The shelter is operated by the Travelers Aid Society of Salt Lake City.
The money will be used for a variety of shelter and other services to the homeless population, Hoagland said.
"All the employees were excited. I have yet to mention (the project) to any employee who didn't immediately say yes. Almost all are students," said Somsen, 24, who attends Salt Lake Valley Community College.
He is employed full-time at Discover Card Services, Sandy, and works two nights a week at the restaurant.
Somsen said he and his wife, Kerri, a nursing student at the college, are house parents for abused children or children who are at risk of being abused and who are referred by the Family Support Center. He said he recently saw children at the Family Support Center who were at the homeless shelter.