More in Community:
By Mike Hazlip—
An area volunteer group met at California Burgers in Citrus Heights Tuesday night to support the restaurant and help feed the hungry during the pandemic.
The group, DeMolay Quaranteam of Roseville, said it raised enough money to purchase 75 meals from California Burger, according to an announcement on the group’s social media page. Volunteers distributed hamburgers to anyone needing a meal,
Organizer Hunter Witham, 18, said he helped organize the event with the aid of advisor Dave Killmer. Witham said the group posted messages and video on social media to collect donations from community members.
“We’re helping both the people who have food insecurity, whether that be the homeless or just they don’t necessarily know where the next meal is going to come from (and) we’re also helping the local businesses in the area,” said Witham.
The group also held a prior event in Roseville which reportedly raised over $1,000 that was used to purchase about 80 meals.
“We just want to help restaurants and help those who need food,” the group’s advisor, Dave Killmer said.
After giving away meals to a few individuals near the restaurant, a team went out in search of anyone else needing a meal. They found several more individuals along Auburn Boulevard near Harvest Community Church. The last few meals were distributed to a group near Westwood Park.
A man living in a homeless camp near the park identified himself to The Sentinel as “Tom Tom” and said he had an allergy to tomatoes and wasn’t able to eat the meal. The hamburger did not go to waste, however, as another member of the camp soon came by and was grateful for the meal.
Killmer said the idea to purchase meals from restaurants and distribute them to the community came from a Seattle-based group. The effort is similar to the Great Plates Delivered program funded by FEMA, although it is funded by donations rather than government money.
California Burgers manager Sarah Truelove told The Sentinel in an interview Wednesday she was grateful for the group’s efforts. The restaurant is independently owned, and Truelove said the restaurant was busier than usual Tuesday night. An earlier report by The Sentinel shows the restaurant also hosted a Volkswagen cruise earlier this month.
The Sentinel reported the City of Citrus Heights participated in the Great Plates program for much of last year. The City Council reluctantly ended the program in December after reimbursement delays from FEMA made it unfeasible, according to discussion from council at the time.
The DeMolay organization was founded in 1919 and has chapters across the globe. The group describes itself as “the premier international youth leadership organization, striving to shape young men into leaders of character.”
The Roseville group has about 20 active young men and five adult advisors, according to Witham. He estimated about 11 participated in Tuesday’s event.
“The cool thing about DeMolay is the kids are responsible for their own activities,” Killmer said. “In doing so, it actually creates the leadership opportunities for them as well as the successes and failures of those activities themselves.”
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