It wasn’t what he expected to raise, it was a whole lot better. Sammy J’s general manager Randy Butson (centre) with restaurant assistant manager Regan Will (L) presented a cheque for more than $15,000 to Langley Food Bank executive director Jim Calamunce on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021 (Special to Langley Advance Times)

It wasn’t what he expected to raise, it was a whole lot better. Sammy J’s general manager Randy Butson (centre) with restaurant assistant manager Regan Will (L) presented a cheque for more than $15,000 to Langley Food Bank executive director Jim Calamunce on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021 (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Organizer of Sammy J’s fundraiser for Langley Food Bank ‘overwhelmed’ by generosity

Donation drive exceeded all expectations

Since 2011, Sammy J’s Grill & Bar at 19925 Willowbrook Drive in Langley has been raising money every year for the Langley Food Bank by offering to wrap gifts for guests on Christmas Eve in return for contributions.

But, with the COVID-19 restrictions currently in effect, that was a no-go this season, so general manager Randy Butson, a Walnut Grove resident, started thinking about alternatives.

“Why don’t we do a little cash fundraiser?” Butson asked himself.

READ ALSO: Teamsters help Sources Langley Food Bank

“If we do three or four grand, that would be great.”

Things did not go quite according to plan.

Donations poured in, more than Butson’s most optimistic projections.

By Christmas Eve, the initiative was nudging the $10,000 mark.

“I thought, you know what, let’s go to New Year’s Eve,” Butson told the Langley Advance Times.

On new Year’s Day, Butson woke up to discover more than $15,000 had been raised, an amount that included a $2,500 contribution from the owners of the chain, brothers Mike and Steve Gardner.

READ ALSO: Langley Food Bank says more than 50 new families have joined since COVID-19 pandemic began

On Thursday, Jan. 7, Butson and Sammy J’s assistant manager Regan Will presented a cheque for $15,085 to a delighted Langley food Bank executive director Jim Calamunce.

It had taken just 17 days to raise the funds.

“We were just overwhelmed [by the response],” Butson commented.

”This was simply fantastic”

He praised his team at Sammy J’s, as well as friends, family and members of the community who stepped up.

Butson thinks people, may be more conscious of the need to help others this year during a pandemic, and he is fairly sure there will be another fundraiser at the restaurant next year.

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