Culver’s, Sioux Center community help victims of house fire

Lydia Jayaputra—Copy Editor

Contributed photo

On Jan. 9, a house in Carmel, Iowa caught fire. Though the occupants of the house safely escaped the flames, they lost their home, belongings, and two dogs to the fire. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

  When the Sioux County community heard about the family’s loss, they banded together in support of the family in their time of need. Specifically, Sioux Center Christian School and the Sioux Center Culver’s chipped in on a professional level.

Culver’s sponsored a Day of Giving for the family on Tuesday, Jan. 18.

“I had heard about the misfortune of this fire for [the family], and I felt like we needed to do something,” said Angie Rodenburgh, owner of the Sioux Center Culver’s.  “It’s our duty to give back to our community because our community supports us so well.”

The Day of Giving consisted of Culver’s donating ten percent of the day’s sales to the cause, as well as offering canisters in which customers could deposit a direct donation to the family. Before Jan. 18, Culver’s posted about the Day of Giving on various social media accounts in hopes of a high turnout. When the Day of Giving came, the community showed up in high numbers.

“It was phenomenal. From 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., specifically, we probably ran more sales through the restaurant in those hours than we ever have,” Rodenburgh said. “I just wanted [the family] to experience the love and support given to them that night.”

Marissa Peel, a student at Dordt University, attended the Day of Giving with her roommates. They waited for their food for a half an hour due to the large number of people who arrived to support their community. They do not blame Culver’s for the wait time.  

“It was very heartwarming to see the whole town come together for this family that suffered,” Peel said.  

In addition to the restaurant’s efforts, Sioux Center Christian School (SCCS) set up a fundraising bank account for the family. A number of teachers and staff donated to the family both through the account and informally. SCCS partnered with Atlas, a nonprofit community organization, to set up the bank account and fundraising. 

“To lose everything you have… I couldn’t even imagine how hard that would be,” said Riley VanHulzen, a student teacher at SCCS. “For them to get support from the community and the place I work at is huge.” 

According to VanHulzen, the fundraising went well and allowed the family to purchase the necessities they needed, such as furniture, clothing, and food. The account is still active, and donations are still being received. 

The family stated they were grateful and humbled for Culver’s support, support from the SCCS community, and support from the Sioux County area.

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