Nov 20, 2019
Rise Church and Clovis fire department host Lunch for Love at Campus Pointe on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. (Larry Valenzuela/The Collegian)

Local fundraiser helps students affected by apartment fire

Campus Pointe was a site of giving this weekend as dozens of community members showed up to help raise money for victims of the Maplewood Apartment fires. 

The Lunch For Love fundraiser was held from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, in the center of Campus Pointe. 

The Soares Team, led by Sean Soares and Chelsea Soares, organized the fundraiser with help from the Clovis and Fresno fire departments and Rise Church.

As part of the fundraiser, 20 percent of the proceeds sold at Pieology, Wahoos, The Mad Duck, Que Pasa and Five Guys were donated to the victims. 

As people made their way to the five restaurants, they were entertained by musical performances from Kat The Musician, Kevin Hayashi and Josh Aschenbrenner. 

Sean Soares said he felt compelled to do something after he had heard his family friend, Racine Babb, was living in one of the 14 apartments that was burned in the fire. 

Soares said they began fundraising and raised a decent amount of money for Babb but felt he could do more. 

“So we sprung to action to raise as much money as we could for her, and we raised a decent chunk of money,” Soares said. “And then we started thinking about the other victims and how they may not have the same network of people to help them out, and we felt compelled to give back to the community.”

Babb, one of the victims of the fire, said that things are slowly starting to return to a state of normalcy for her through the help of her friends. 

“I feel so much love and support,” Babb said. “They’re family friends – the people that put on the event – and they help me a lot, just me personally, in supporting, and I’m glad they opened up their hearts to help everyone that was affected. I’m just glad all the restaurants were there to help out.” 

Babb also said she now has a new place to live but is very grateful that Fresno State opened up the dorms for her to stay for a while as she did her credential program and played on the soccer team. 

Soares said his main goal was to bring people together as a community and to help those who lost their homes. 

“We’re in real estate, and we help people to find homes,” Soares said. “This was something that was there in my face that people lost their homes. We need to go and help them out.”

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