AP NEWS

Maximus owners plan big benefit

March 30, 2019

Maximus Restaurant & Sports Bar waitress Renee Lewis won’t be present for Sunday’s Flood Relief Burger Bash Fundraiser being held at the East 23rd Street establishment.

She, along with her husband and four children, will be hard at work at their Bellwood Lakes home gutting a destroyed garage on their property.

Lewis, who was evacuated from her home on March 14 when some of the worst area flooding was happening, knows firsthand what it feels like for community members who are dealing with property damage, displacement and other trickle-down problems associated with one of the state’s worst natural disasters.

And though she won’t be present, she noted that it’s no shock at all that her employers, Cory and Keri Reeder, have taken it upon themselves to come up with a constructive way to help community members in need.

“They are just really good people – great bosses, all around good people,” Lewis said. “And I’m not surprised that they would do something like this … Doesn’t surprise me a bit.”

The benefit is being held from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. at Maximus, 329 23rd St., and 100 percent of gathered proceeds are going toward aiding community flood victims, Cory Reeder said. A free-will donation is being asked by those in attendance, and lunch will consist of hamburgers, potato chips, and a drink option of water or tea. Adult beverages will also be available for purchase, and proceeds from those sales will also go toward flood victim relief.

“There are a lot of people that had a lot of loss with their homes, a lot of damage in their homes,” Keri Reeder said. “So any way that we can help, you know, give them some relief from that, we wanted to. We have a lot of people who come in here and give to us, so I feel like this is a great way to give back to them and help them get back on their feet.”

The benefit, Cory said, will be able to hold up to 1,500 people. He added that knowledge of the gathering has been spreading rapidly on Facebook and by word of mouth.

In the days following the worst of the flooding, Cory said that he spent some time assisting people he knew were in need of help, which put him right in the thick of things.

“After I saw firsthand all the devastation of stuff,” Cory said of when he started formulating the fundraising idea. “As a whole, inner Columbus was very, very, very fortunate that (it wasn’t worse). Those who have seen it – not just on a phone or Facebook or something, but who have feet on the ground, know what it’s like.

“Seeing some of that devastation, in a way, it made me feel helpless a little bit, so there’s just that desire to ask yourself, ‘what can I do.’ And you can only help so many people one-on-one so I thought that this would be a way to bring people together as a community.”

Cory said that proceeds from the event will go where they are most needed. He’s already been in contact with people making suggestions, and he’s also brought together leaders of the community to assist with the process.

“We are going to take it all in house, and I have asked a couple of business owners, myself, councilmen, to help advise me with where to go with it and what to do with it,” he said. “Just so that it is fair and fair as possible.

“Really, I’m just trying to do something good.”

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sam.pimper@lee.net.