For the past eight years, Mano and Mei Mei Lujan have celebrated the end of football season by offering a Super Bowl Charity BBQ Cater for local folks as a way to give back to the community.
As the owners of Red House BBQ, the Lujans auction a Super Bowl feast to feed 25 people valued at more than $500. This year, the winning bid of $425 was made by Barbara Ferrante, proprietor of another local restaurant, Jake's Steakhouse.
"I saw that Mano was doing his Super Bowl Sunday deal again this year, so I ended up putting in a bid," said Ferrante.
After the Lujans notified Ferrante that she had the winning bid, Ferrante said she wondered what she was going to do with all that food. She called up the local VFW Post and asked if they would like to have it for their Super Bowl party.
"They said they would be very appreciative to receive it," Ferrante said.
When the Lujans learned Ferrante was going to donate the food to the VFW, they included enough barbecue to feed 40 people instead.
"They loved it," VFW bartender Tamie Adams said of the food donation. "They were very happy because everyone loves Red House barbecue. We really appreciated the donation, and everyone had a great time."
According to Mano Lujan, one stipulation of the Super Bowl Charity BBQ Cater was that the winning bid would then be donated to a local charity chosen by the highest bidder.
"I decided to go with Have a Heart Humane Society because my passion is animals," said Ferrante.
The Lujans met with Ferrante Thursday at Rescued Treasures, the local resale store operated by Have a Heart, to present the winning bid, which Ferrante increased to $500.
"Everyone just gave a little extra, which is really nice," said Lujan.
According to Gina Christopher, chief financial officer and treasurer for Have a Heart, the donation will go toward funding a spay and neuter clinic where 20 cats and dogs will be fixed.
"All of the money that we raise goes towards the animals that we rescue," said Christopher. "This donation means the world to us."
Have a Heart is partly funded by grants, but relies heavily on proceeds from the Rescued Treasures store and private donations.
"Mano is so generous to this community and I wanted to pay it forward," Ferrante said. "We love to support our community and hope that they will support our small businesses here in Tehachapi."