Saturday, July 20, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 20

Santa Maria Sun / School Scene

The following article was posted on September 5th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 27 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 27

Local Boy Scout works to bring Santa Maria-style barbecue to homeless

By Kasey Bubnash

It's not every day a teenager devotes his free time to raising thousands of dollars for a community project, but 13-year-old Alexander Andrade isn't your average teen–he's a Boy Scout.

Wait–haven't we heard this before? 

Alexander, a freshman at Ernest Righetti High School and member of Orcutt Troop 95, isn't the only community-minded Andrade in town. He's following closely behind his older brother, Joseph, on the path to becoming an Eagle Scout, the most honorable rank a Scout can reach. 

At the beginning of this year, Joseph raised nearly $4,000 to help build a children's library in the Harvest Community Center. 

Now it's Alexander's turn, and becoming an Eagle Scout is no small feat. 

The process includes the completion of a mandatory Eagle Scout project, Alexander said, during which Scouts are required to develop and complete a meaningful community service project. Alexander chose a fairly large-scale task. 

He plans to install a massive Santa Maria-style barbecue pit behind the Good Samaritan homeless shelter on Morrison Avenue. 

The pit, which would be located just outside the Good Sam's kitchen, will cost about $5,000 to build, and Alexander said he hopes to be finished with the project in December.

Although several individuals and businesses have already donated to Alexander's GoFundMe page in the few weeks since he started raising money, the funds add up to roughly $1,300 all together, and Alexander still has a long way to go.

Aside from monetary donations, Alexander said he's also accepting materials like rebar, firewood, fire bricks, concrete, and cinder blocks. 

"We need quite a bit of stuff to make this project possible," Alexander said.  

The seed for Alexander's Eagle Scout project was first planted a few years ago, when Troop 95 helped serve food at Good Sam. He saw the small, dilapidated grill the cooks were using, and thought it'd be nice to help the shelter and its patrons in a lasting way. 

As a Santa Maria native, Alexander said he's spent many of his favorite weekends gathering with family and friends around barbecues, eating perfectly grilled tri-tip and enjoying the cool evenings. 

Boy Scout Alexander Andrade (pictured) is working to raise about $5,000 to install a Santa Maria-style barbecue pit behind the Good Samaritan homeless shelter on Morrison Avenue.

But not everyone can afford that luxury, and Good Sam's new barbecue pit, he said, would not only help feed thousands who check into the shelter over the next several years, but would give them a unique opportunity to gather. 

"It's just having a safe environment and being able to hang out with friends and family," Alexander said. 

The Good Sam feeds about 140 guests a night in Santa Maria alone, according to David Bickham, the nonprofit's outreach volunteer coordinator. The shelter also shares its kitchen with Community Action Commission, he said, another nonprofit that provides nearly 2,000 Meals on Wheels to Central Coast residents each day. 

Both organizations are excited about the opportunity to serve Santa Maria-style barbecue, Bickham said, and to throw out the old rusty grill the cooks are using now. 

"Even when that thing is cooking the whole shelter gets excited," Bickham said, "and everyone can smell it, and they know a good dinner is coming."

The project was approved by Good Sam's board of directors and the city of Santa Maria in late August, Bickham said. When the project is finished, he said the shelter hopes to host a grand opening for its guests and community members. If the Scouts can raise enough money, Bickham said he also plans to put picnic tables all around the pit. 

"It really creates a sense of community for our guests," Bickham said. "It gives them a taste of Santa Maria and their community."

Community members interested in making monetary donations can visit Andrade's GoFundMe page. For any other donation inquiries, call (805) 260-7843. 

Staff Writer Kasey Bubnash writes School Scene each week. Information can be sent to the Sun via mail, fax, or email at 

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