Applebee's Holds Fundraiser for Marie Callender's Employees

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Mon, December 23 2013 at 6:34 PM, Updated: Mon, December 23 2013 at 7:12 PM

Jobless before Christmas. That's the reality for Medford Marie Callender's workers just over a week since the restaurant burned to the ground.

However, the community gathered at Applebee's restaurants in Grants Pass and Medford to help on Monday. A portion of all sales will go toward Marie Callender's workers who need the help. The event ran all day from open until close.

While the fundraiser was in full swing, Heather Armstrong and Ciara Rardin were hard at work on Monday selling pies out of a tent in the Medford Applebee's parking lot.

They are two of the roughly 25 Marie Callender's employees who had their livelihoods ripped away from them about a week ago when a fire tore through their restaurant.

"I was opening in the morning and I drove up to the building on fire and I was in shock. I couldn't believe it," said Armstrong.

"We have put so much love into our customers," began Rardin.

"It's just devastating," she said.

But the fundraiser at Applebee's was a bright spot on Monday.

"15% of your check will go toward Marie Callender's employees," said Robert Baxter, the Assistant General Manager at Marie Callender's.

"It's Christmas and so yeah, I'm delighted that we can help in whatever way we can," said Applebee's diner Terry Waters.

The outpouring of support, touching for Ciara and Heather.

"A lady just walked up and said here's a donation. It's a $20 bill for us," explained Rardin.

"It's a tough time for everybody around the holidays and the fact that they're going to go in and do this to help us out is amazing," said Armstrong.

The two former Marie Callender's waitresses said they have one message for the community that's given so much during this holiday season.

"Thank you. thank you so much. We really can't say that enough. Thank you."

Perhaps another bright spot for employees: Marie Callender's has given their employees a month's salary to help with the holidays.

Applebee's in Medford closes at 11, so diners have until then to come out and support Marie Callender's employees.

For those still looking to fill pie orders, the tent will be in the Applebee's parking lot on Tuesday from 9 until 6 in the evening. However, a word of caution, pies are running low.

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About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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