Appreciation for First Responders is Definitely Their Bag
Related Story Link: Historic SCE Restoration Ongoing at Big Creek
The thank-you’s are in the bag or, in this touching, colorful case, on the bags.
As in the bags decorated by children and volunteers of the Fresno-based Feed a Frontline First Responder Fundraiser that were recently delivered by one of its volunteers to the Farm — Southern California Edison’s second-biggest laydown yard for the Creek Fire restoration — showing appreciation for the SCE crews’ work in restoring the Big Creek community.
There were about 50 of the decorated bags and they were a total surprise to SCE crew members like Henry Lomeli, a senior manager who was blown away by the bags and their “Thank-You,” “We Believe in You” and “We Appreciate You” messages.
“It took some effort on their part,” said Lomeli, a 31-year SCE employee who manages the laydown yard for vegetation management contractor support crews. “Each bag was different, and you could tell it was made with a kids’ warm heart.”
When you see things like that, it kind of touches your heart because a lot of us have kids at home. It takes things to a different level, right? You know you’re doing some good, you’ve come here to help.”Henry Lomeli, SCE Senior Manager
The effort was led by Jenny Rivera, who organized the fundraiser with volunteers that include schools, churches and her customers. She said the goal was to raise $500 “to package meals including burritos inside these bags that were decorated with words of encouragement and gratitude” for first responders.
Well, $27,000 and countless volunteer hours later, the giving has grown to include as many as 5,000 bags.
In addition to SCE crews, the bag-and-burrito beneficiaries have included CAL FIRE, the California Highway Patrol, Madera County Deputy Sheriffs’ Associations and animal rescuers — with Rivera saying any leftover money will go to first responder organizations in Fresno, Madera and Mariposa counties.
“With all the craziness of this year, I think people just really gravitated toward this effort because they want to be part of something good and something worthy because there’s not much you can do during these times,” said Rivera, also the owner of BooBoo Bean Bakery and Café in Fresno.
She will get no argument about its worthiness from Lomeli and SCE’s crews.
“When you see things like that, it kind of touches your heart because a lot of us have kids at home,” said Lomeli. “It takes things to a different level, right? You know you’re doing some good, you’ve come here to help.”