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LH Chamber serves up food for a cause

By Taylor Engle
La Habra Journal

The La Habra Chamber of Commerce hosted the 32nd annual Chamber Night at Senor Campos in La Habra 5-9 p.m. on Tuesday.

Serving smiles: Central Drugs Ben Cano brings drinks to a table during the La Habra Chamber of Commerce’s Chamber Night last Tuesday at Senor Campos restaurant.
Serving smiles: Central Drugs Ben Cano brings drinks to a table during the La Habra Chamber of Commerce’s Chamber Night last Tuesday at Senor Campos restaurant.

Chamber Night is a fundraiser where members of the Chamber take over the restaurant and raise money for the organization and other organizations in the city through tips.  It was originally hosted at the former Trapper’s Inn.
After Trappers closed, John and Tillie Campos invited the Chamber members to continue the tradition at the new location, Senor Campos.
To help instill a level of competitiveness the 30 volunteers were split into five teams.
Each team took care of their own area of the restaurant: hosting, waiting and busing tables, bartending, and dishwashing.
“They’re doing everything but the cooking,” said Eric Heilmann, Senor Campos employee.
Heilmann and his coworker Erik Lucas ran the front and were in charge of making sure all of the tip money went to the fundraiser. Other than the cooks and a few Senor Campos waiters helping out, the entire restaurant was taken care of by the volunteers.
The wait staff consisted of business owners, La Habra council members, La Habra police officers, and members of the La Mirada area Chambers of Commerce.
“La Mirada has been very helpful to our area over the years. We are constantly cooperating and collaborating with them,” said La Habra Chamber President Mark Sturdevant.
Approximately 275 people were registered to attend the fundraiser, but with walk-ins included the Chamber members waited on approximately 500 guests.  The tables were turned over three times, which is the maximum amount for the restaurant dinner hour.
Accompanying the dinner and drinks was live music and an appearance by the Miss La Habra court.
Some of the chamber members took turns at the microphone thanking guests for their participation in the fundraiser and introducing key members of the community.

Photos by Jay Seidel/La Habra Journal May I take your order: Pacific Community Credit Union’s Tim McAdam takes an order from patrons during La Habra Chamber of Commerce’s Chamber Night last Tuesday at Senor Campos restaurant.
Photos by Jay Seidel/La Habra Journal
May I take your order: Pacific Community Credit Union’s Tim McAdam takes an order from patrons during La Habra Chamber of Commerce’s Chamber Night last Tuesday at Senor Campos restaurant.

“This is easily one of the busiest nights of the year,” Heilmann said. The restaurant was so packed that additional tables had to be set up in the waiting area to accommodate all of the guests.
The restaurant buzzed with positive feedback from guests. A woman being waited on by the chamber members gushed to her wait staff, “This demonstrates such great participation in the community.”
The chamber members and community leaders waited tables near the bar and also took care of the bartending. “Councilman Jim Gomez is in a league of his own,” Sturdevant said. “We’re all just trying to keep up with him.”
With tips from the bar and meals combined, the council members raised the most money for the event. However, the police department was able to take the lead in tips on the main floor. In total, the members raised approximately $10,000 in tips for the chamber, which is a record for the event.
As stated, the purpose of the event is to raise money for the Chamber of Commerce. However, each year the Chamber picks other organizations in the city they want to donate a percentage of the proceeds to.
This year, the Chamber decided to donate funds to the Special Olympics, which La Habra is a host town for international athletes participating in the World Games in Los Angeles, which takes place July 25-August 2.  Additional proceeds from the fundraiser will go to the La Habra Police K9 Foundation and scholarships for high school students in business programs.

Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.