SOMERVILLE, TX — Mama’s Kitchen, a decades-old staple of Somerville dining, has been closed now for several days, after a vehicle struck the building’s back side, bursting into the restaurant’s kitchen area.
The crash caused a vat of bubbling hot oil to splash onto a waitress and cook who were standing inside. Both women had to be air lifted to Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston, and receive treatment for their burns. One of those women remains hospitalized as of Monday afternoon, according to restaurant staff.
As these ladies, named Amber and Fidi, start their long journey to recovery, the people of Somerville have organized multiple efforts to raise money for the incoming medical bills.
“Nothing that is being raised will go to anyone but those two girls,"said Jerri Negrete, former Mama’s Kitchen employee and fundraiser co-organizer. "They have medical bills, and Amber’s a single mom. The waitress’ parents are trying to stay up there [at the hospital] with her, and of course that’s a financial burden.”
Negrete spent her Monday afternoon preparing tickets for a barbecue fundraiser that will take place the afternoon of Aug. 15 at Lake Somerville’s Welch Park pavilion, where she regularly volunteers.
“When something tragic like this happens, Somerville is really good at pulling together and taking care of our own," Negrete commented.
Negrete hopes Brazos Valley residents will come out to the lake that day and support the auction and raffle, which will directly benefit the injured employees.
The story of Mama’s Kitchen has reached hearts outside of the Brazos Valley as well. Sommer Brinkley, a woman living east of Houston, is friends with the owner of the Somerville restaurant, Tommy Thompson, and has started her own online fundraiser for the injured staffers.
“You know, Tommy will give his shirt off his back for anybody," she said. "[The crash] was just something horrible that I felt like I couldn’t do anything to help, so I can raise what little money I can raise. Anything helps.”
While Mama’s Kitchen staff didn’t feel comfortable coming on camera just yet, they told KRHD News that they have been traumatized and emotionally shaken, and are asking for prayers and support.
Those interested in helping can make a donation through the Venmo app, to user @miranda-jade-5, or can call Citizen’s State Bank in Somerville and make a donation to the Mama’s Kitchen fund.