Community Pitching In to Rebuild Little League Snack Bar : Volunteerism: Firefighters, students, parents and players are doing their part to get the facility in working order.


College students, residents, firefighters and players are pitching in to help rebuild the Northeast Garden Grove Little League's snack bar, which was gutted by fire early Monday after vandals apparently tried to get into the cinder-block building.

Students in construction technology classes at Orange Coast College have volunteered to install new electrical wiring and build new shelves and cabinets at no cost.

"There wasn't a hand that didn't go up" when volunteers were recruited in classes, instructor Hank Rees said. "They're stoked and ready to go."

And more relief is on the way.

* The Garden Grove Firefighters Assn. and the Garden Grove Police Officers Assn. have each contributed $250 to the rebuilding cause. Police Sgt. Randy Tucker, a Northeast Little League coach, also has issued a challenge to businesses and residents to match the contribution. Police are also donating a used microwave oven from its communication center.

* Garden Grove Disposal donated a 22-foot dumpster for cleanup, which volunteers had virtually completed by Wednesday.

* Little League player Joey Rovirosa barbecued hot dogs for sale during games the night after the fire. His mother, Joanne, brought soft drinks in an ice chest. Other players and parents have used similar makeshift facilities to keep hot dogs and soft drinks available to fans.

* The parents of one Northeast player won a cash drawing and turned over their winnings to the rebuilding effort. Another parent, Aladdin Dunder, will put on a barbecue Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Little League site and give receipts to the cause.

* The Garden Grove Elks Club will donate a U.S. flag to replace the one scorched in the fire.

* All five Garden Grove City Council members and Orange County Supervisor Roger R. Stanton have pledged financial help.

The fire caused about $25,000 in damage and destroyed contents "down to the salt and pepper packets," said Denise Simons, the snack bar's operator. Microwaves, ice machines, lemonade dispensers, refrigerators, hot dogs, potato chips and candy bars were lost, putting a pall on $10,000-a-year concession sales that finance most baseball operations for the season.

"Things started happening fast, and the community is coming together," league president Larry Silva said Wednesday.

A fund-raiser has been scheduled for May 16 at Clubhouse Pizza at The City Shopping Center in Orange. The league will get half of the proceeds, he said.

Those interested in helping can call league officials at (714) 971-7631 or write to the Northeast Garden Grove Little League at P.O. Box 1911, Garden Grove, 92642.

The cause of the fire at the complex on the grounds of Earl Warren Elementary School, next to Pioneer Park, remained under investigation Thursday. Little League officials are also checking the condition of the charred but still-standing cinder-block building to determine whether it needs major repairs.

The structure was reinforced with concrete and steel bars and had a thick steel door for security. Silva, who referred to the building as "Fort Knox," said vandals tried to gain entry through a small window that allows snack bar volunteers to peek out at baseball games.

The window will be removed in the rebuilding to make the structure "stronger than before," he said.

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