The Italian restaurant Ricatoni’s in Morgan Hill is usually packed, but not often with hundreds of people like it was during Wednesday’s fundraiser dinner for missing Morgan Hill teen Sierra LaMar.
The restaurant saw an estimated 400 people dine-in and take-out, according to Randi Bara, the manager at Ricatoni’s.
"Typically people won't stick around to wait for a table, but they were last night,” Bara said, adding that the LaMar family is welcome to use Ricatoni’s for fundraisers at anytime. “Sierra's mom and dad were here, too, and I think it gave them strength to see the support that’s out there for them.”
Fifteen percent of Wednesday’s sales will be used to aid search efforts for the 15-year-old Sobrato High student who went missing on March 16.
Wednesday’s event was just the beginning of a slew of fundraisers friends of the LaMar family, like Konnie Bunt, would like to hold.
Bunt, who helped organize the fundraiser dinner, said a group of volunteers have come together with the goal of hosting similar events at privately owned Morgan Hill establishments to help the LaMar family, adding that Ricatoni’s was the first business to reach out to them.
“The community support and events like this are really keeping the family moving,” she said. “They can feel as though something is being done and it’s not all on them.”
Donations will go toward replenishing the , which could use some beefing up after the family announced a Bunt said volunteers are hoping to replenish the fund so they can have posters of Sierra plastered on billboards and BART trains—a goal that’s likely to be accomplished thanks to the Morgan Hill community and countless other individuals.
Check out what a few attendees from Wednesday’s fundraiser had to say about supporting the search for Sierra, below:
“I’ve come up to Morgan Hill to search about 14 or 15 times since she disappeared, riding my bike to the bus stop in Gilroy and getting up here,” said Scott Gray, 47, of Gilroy. “My spirit comes from the bible, ‘Love thy neighbor.’ My goal is to try to get more people to come out here and help.”
“We just heard that the proceeds go to the Sierra LaMar Fund and Morgan Hill is a small community, so we wanted to come out and show our support,” said Amie Hyer, 40, of Morgan Hill. “It’s hard to explain what happened to her to our kids, like our 13 year old. This just hits a little too close to home.”
“Whatever we can do to help, whether it involves food or not we want to do it,” said 49-year-old Shirley Scocca of Morgan Hill. “Her disappearance makes you more cautious. You see young kids walking around alone and you think about their safety.”
“We made a special effort to come down here tonight and support the fund. It was a good reason to come out,” Morgan Hill resident Lucinda Lawson, 60, said. “This just hits so close to home. My daughter went to Ann Sobrato High School, where Sierra goes.”
Volunteers are in the process of creating a calendar of future fundraiser events, which will be available on Patch once they’re finalized.
For previous coverage of the Sierra LaMar case, refer to the Sierra LaMar Disappearance: Comprehensive Updates and Information page.