All nine Panda Express locations in the Santa Clarita Valley banded together recently to fundraise for Saugus High School, donating a total of more than $21,000.
“This tragedy touches Panda Express closely, as a number of our associates throughout the Santa Clarita Valley attend Saugus High School and live within the community that has been impacted,” said Ryan Dermody, area coach of operations at Panda Express.
The idea came from one of Panda’s team members, who thought it’d be the perfect way to rally around the community, according to Dermody.
On Monday, Dec. 2, Panda locations were decorated with blue balloons as employees donned “We stand with Saugus” shirts while the community was invited to eat at any location in the SCV, with 20% of their proceeds going directly to Saugus. Panda Cares then matched the donation from the local stores for a total of $21,220.
“Members of this community came out in full force, showcasing overwhelming support to rally around those affected,” Dermody added. “Through many interactions, guests shared with us their personal stories and connections to the events that occurred and expressed their deep appreciation and thankfulness for everyone who came out to support.”
Attendees were also able to grab pink bracelets that read “Gracie Strong” and pink ribbons in honor of Gracie Muehlberger, one of the victims of the shooting, to tie around trees.
“The fundraiser brings people together to support one another, and that is so important in hard times like these,” Dermody said. “The funds raised will help this community heal in so many ways, and the awareness raised will hopefully give a voice to the victims, survivors and their families.”