The Pittsburg police and fire departments hosted their annual Badges and Burgers event on Friday, raising money this year for the Children's Advocacy Center (CAC). It was so popular, however, that they sold out of burgers before what was supposed to be the halfway point of the fundraiser lunch event.

“We had a lot of pre-orders, which was good, but we did sell out,” said Lt. Rebekah Lynch of the Pittsburg Police Department’s investigations division. “We have an incredibly supportive community.”

The police and fire department sold 320 burgers, raising about $1,700 for the CAC.

“The police department is very thankful that we have that organization in our community and it’s nice to be able to have a place where we can interview children that is a safe environment, a child-friendly environment, and I just appreciate the support that the community has given to the CAC,” Lynch said.

Whitney Lovell, executive director of the Pittsburg-based Children’s Advocacy Center, said the CAC also appreciates the community’s support.

“We’re funded by grants, but they’re pretty restricted, so then we rely on fundraisers and donations, so this will bridge that gap on what’s not covered in our grant funds,” she said.

The CAC facilitates forensic interviews with child victims of physical or sexual abuse, but also supports the children beyond the interview process.

“The great thing about us is we give them an advocate,” Lovell said, “so the child gets to build their rapport with their advocate and the advocate stays with them through the whole entire process from start to finish, and even beyond if need be.”

Lovell added that the CAC provides its services at no charge to the child victims it supports or to their families.

“So everything we do is free of cost to them, so being able to have fundraisers like this really helps with that support,” she said.

Pittsburg Police Chief Brent Narges also commented on how quickly Badges and Burgers sold out of food — which was provided by Marrone’s Inc. at a significant discount.

The popularity of the event shows “overwhelming support by the community for our efforts to continue to support the Children’s Advocacy Center,” Narges said. “We’re very appreciative of the community to give that support to an organization that certainly serves a considerable and important need in our community.”

Mike Simons, chief of the Pittsburg Fire Department, said Badges and Burgers is a “phenomenal event” not only for those who buy burgers to support a good cause and for the organization it raises money for, but one which police and firefighters have fun participating in as well. “So it’s just a great thing all the way around,” he said.

Badges and Burgers has raised money for a variety of different causes in the past.

“We wanted to keep it local this time,” Simons said. “We didn’t expect to sell out so quickly, so we’ll have to plan accordingly next year and even make it a bigger event.”