A taco fundraiser at Bakersfield Living Word Foursquare Church started with two moms: Michelle Gonzalez and Nicole Cabe. To Gonzales, Angel Berumen wasn’t just her daughter’s friend from Foothill High School FFA.
“I’m sure I’m not alone, but I feel that as parents we’re very close knit. I mean, we care for these kids, like they were our own,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez and Cabe came together to support another Bakersfield mom: Jasmine Burleson. She tragically lost her son, 16-year-old Angel, in a hit-and-run crash almost two weeks ago.
“Helping us and picking us up when we need it most, is amazing to me and I couldn’t ask for better friends for my son,” Burleson said. “As parents, we always think about what kind of people our children are hanging out with, and he had the most amazing friends.”
The community of Bakersfield not only helped find the four alleged people involved, including the alleged driver, but showed up Saturday to help raise money for Angel's family.
“We had moms reach out in FFA. We had several people that I didn’t even know reach out and say, hey, can I help you buy plates? Can I help you buy some meat? Can I donate some money for meat?” Gonzalez said. “It’s just the whole community coming together for this.”
A plate of tacos, rice and beans will go a long way, proceeds will go directly to Angel’s family for memorial expenses and anything they may need.
“There’s a lot of his friend’s family that I have never met before,'' Burleson said. “It’s so amazing that they would do this for someone they have never met before, because of how my child was, how my child interacted with them. He was such an amazing person, with such a big heart, that he obviously touched the lives of a lot of people.”
The community can attend two more fundraisers at Fresco’s Mexican Grill on Niles Street Sunday and Monday (when you go up to the counter and say “Angel’s fundraiser,” they’ll donate 20 percent of proceeds to the family). Since Burleson’s son's passing, it’s not just the presence of family, friends, and kind strangers Burleson and her loved ones have felt: It’s Angel’s.
“It’s why we wear these little bee pins and stuff. Ever since he got medevaced out to Madeira, we’ve had little bee visitors that will come in one at a time,” Burleson said. A bee sat in between the wipers of [my husband’s] windshield the whole way from Madeira all the way home.”
A bee even paid the 23ABC team a visit before heading out for the day, sitting on our team’s news car.
“Faith is keeping us going. My son was a child, an innocent child,” Burleson said. “Me and my husband both feel like he is in a better place. Unfortunately, he is not here with us, where I would love him to be but he's in good hands.”