CORONA (CBSLA) — At least 18 restaurants took part in a fundraiser Wednesday for the 13 Turpin children rescued from a life that allegedly included torture, starvation, being chained to furniture and being taunted with food.
Officials said the children — ranging in age from 2 to 29 — were victims of some of the worst abuse they’d ever seen. The children were allowed to shower once a year. Some of the older children, adults in real time, were so thin and small they appeared to be young children, around 14.
People have opened up their hearts around the Inland Empire. CBS2’s Jo Kwon reports the restaurants today all decided to donate significant amounts of their earnings to a fund set up for the children.
And she said many people were eager to help out for such a worthy cause.
Kwon reported from Miguel’s in Corona where diners received a flyer telling them about the fundraiser.
The Corona Chamber of Commerce calls the survivors “the Magnificent 13.”
Many were happy to take part. Even if the circumstances still upset people.
“Cause I really don’t want to give tribute to their last name. I don’t want the parents, so-called parents, I can’t even call them that, to give them any recognition at all,” said Chamber CEO Bobby Spiegel.
He and restaurant owner Mary Vasquez thanked guests for coming in.
Mike Steger lives nearby and comes to the restaurant every few weeks. Tonight, was the perfect time and he didn’t even know it.
He’s usually a patron “When the wife is out of town.”
But eating out tonight also does something important.
“This is a very nice thing,” he said.
Miguel’s said they were donating 20 percent of their sales Wednesday through dinner time. They were doing similar fundraisers at two of their other restaurants and 18 take out locations.
Gordon Freeman is a regular at Miguel’s. He was also unaware his habit would be helping the kids.
“Get a good meal, and we get to help support the cause,” Freeman said.
A group of friends happened to have plans to meet up at Miguel’s and they also had no idea they were helping the cause.
“I love that I can help out, and I love that I’m having lunch with my friend,” said Connie Grisby.
Her friend, Monique Mendez, says now she’s making plans to skip making dinner.
“Maybe I’ll ask my husband we’ll go to dinner at Macaroni Grill,” she said, “because they’re doing a fundraiser there, too.”
Miguel’s was joined in the fundraiser with about 17 other restaurants in the area.
For a complete list of the restaurants who took part, click here.