■ By Kyle Selby / Reporter
Last Friday, another fundraiser was held to benefit the employees of El Patron restaurant, which was destroyed in a blaze Dec. 22. More than 40 people lost their jobs.
Previously, a fundraiser was put together by a regular customer of the restaurant, who started a GoFundMe campaign online that generated $1,030. The funds were divided among the former employees at the restaurant location earlier this month.
This time around, Dena Drouault, a San Jacinto Unified School District school counselor, Crunch Fitness Zumba instructor Leslie Hernandez, and Jason Demery, fitness instructor at The Camp, helped organize another fundraising event for the bereft of employees.
Demery’s The Camp Transformation Center in Hemet hosted the event last Friday. Tickets for the event were $20, and participants were able to engage in Zumba; a popular dance-fitness exercise that is typically performed at classes. Multiple Zumba instructors were present during the event.
“We are impressed to see how the community keeps helping us,” said Abel Sanchez, owner of El Patron. “Our employees were very happy.”
Sanchez arrived at the scene the night of the fire to watch his “dream turn to ashes.” He is unsure that he will be able to resurrect the restaurant just yet, however, he remains hopeful.
$500 was raised during the “Zumbathon” fundraiser, and was dispersed among each member of the former staff and crew at El Patron.
Jennifer Jensen Fishman surprised the staff by providing $100 checks to each of the former employees, and Patty Castro, owner of BZ BEEZ Tax & Insurance, donated $250.