The View co-host Sherri Shepherd has announced that she and fiancée, Lamar Sally, would like for their wedding guests to donate to EMBRACE located in San Diego, CA. in lieu of wedding gifts, to help provide support to serve homeless veterans and civilians.

Founded in 2000, EMBRACE is a nonprofit organization that provides social and physical wellness programs serving underprivileged communities in San Diego, CA. Embrace programs are designed to connect college students to the multi-cultural community through volunteerism and service learning. The organization is built on the philosophy of UNITY and encourages serving less fortunate members of civilian and veteran communities by bringing people together irrespective of their race, religion or cultural upbringing.

Sean Sheppard, founder of EMBRACE was leading a group of college student volunteers to serve the homeless and while serving, Mr. Sheppard met Debbie Clark who played the character “Storm” on American Gladiators from 1991 to 1993. Clark, now 47 became homeless after an injury to her knee which ended her American Gladiator career. Sean Sheppard helped the homeless Ex-American Gladiator and her son by providing shelter and food and reached out to others for assistance. The media became aware of his efforts to aid mother and son, including AOL News, who wrote an article on this unfortunate story of an American Gladiator that was now homeless.

After reading the AOL News story of Storm and her son’s homelessness, Sherri Shepherd began her support by providing Clark and son with 6 months of rent along with utilities. Since then, Sherri Shepherd has been a fan of EMBRACE and on May 24, 2011 she announced on The View talk show that she and fiancée, Lamar Sally would like their wedding guests and fans to donate to EMBRACE in lieu of wedding gifts for their upcoming August wedding. “The compassion & dedication that Sean displays everyday in helping those less fortunate is what drew me to the Embrace organization,” said Sherri Shepherd.

EMBRACE has provided food, clothing, blankets and referrals to thousands homeless veterans and civilians that include women and children. The organization is comprised mostly of college student volunteers who donate their time and talent each week to serve the community in a variety of ways. Since the economic downturn, their focus has been on homeless civilian and veteran populations. “Just like water and solar power, college students are a natural resource that is routinely underutilized when it comes to addressing community problems. They care little about skin color, political affiliation, religious beliefs or ethnicity; they just want to help those who need it. They have been an invaluable resource to the Southern California community in a multitude of ways,” said Sheppard.

EMBRACE is very appreciative that Sherri Shepherd is assisting to serve the homeless population in San Diego through her time, talent, and resources. The homeless civilian and veteran populations are increasing as is the operating cost associated with a growing organization. We rely on donations, grants and corporate sponsorship and feel blessed that Sherri was compelled to assist us in such a personal way to shed light on EMBRACE’s cause, "added Sean Sheppard.

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