B&B opens for dinner to help family in need

Kristin Arabally, 36, (left), wanted to help Jenimae Michener, 11 months, (right, supported by mom, Amber Michener). Chris Vigil, (center) found out about it — so he’s helping all of them soon, at the B&B Cafe. Photo by Virginia Grantier
By Virginia Grantier

A little toddler by the name of Jenimae has a major problem.

To help, Castle Rock’s historic B&B Café, 324 Wilcox St. — usually open only for breakfast and lunch — will be open for supper from 5:30-8:30 p.m. March 7 and 8.

The B&B plans to make no money those nights. It’s all for Jenimae.

B&B’s owner, Robert Schoene, is letting an employee and friend, Chris Vigil, former co-owner and chef of Vigil’s Mexican restaurant, use the B&B those two nights so he can prepare take-out and sit-down meals. On the menu: such things as burritos, tacos, tamales, etc. and the Vigil family’s green chile recipe.

The price: whatever people want to pay.

Groceries have been donated and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to help Jenimae Michener, an 11-month-old Castle Rock resident, who has only about 10 percent of her hearing because of a hereditary disorder she was born with — Treacher Collins Syndrome, which can cause facial deformities and affect hearing.

Jenimae needs special hearing aids that cost $4,150 each, plus medical costs, which her parents, Amber and Joshua Michener, of Castle Rock, who have two other children, can’t afford and their insurance only covers a piece of.

“We’re overhelmed with happiness that someone wants to help us out,” Amber Michener said.

How this fundraising event came about is because Amber Michener was helping someone else out, not Jenimae.

“I give all the credit to God for things like this,” said Kristin Arabally, 36, of Castle Rock, who started this effort.

Arabally said she didn’t even know Amber Michener until recently when she read online a posting in a mom’s group that Amber was looking for free baby items for a friend on a tight budget who was expecting a baby. Arabally, a mother of two, had items and invited Amber to pick them up, which she did.

It wasn’t until later, accidentally, that Arabally read that the Micheners themselves had a major problem they were dealing with.

Arabally said she was initially impressed with Amber the day they met, but was even more impressed when she thought about how Amber had been focused on helping a friend while trying to deal with her own baby’s problem.

Arabally has her own toddler, and a 3-year-old, and hasn’t had much sleep in the last three years, she said, laughing. But she wanted to help.

“I want to be this kind of person (that helps),” she said.

And so she and friends discussed various possibilities, discarded them, and then she thought about her mom who in the past organized events getting restaurants to donate, say, 10 percent of a night’s profits. So she went to one restaurant, got a “no,” went to a second who said “yes,” but had to get permission from corporate, and it didn’t happen.

And then one night Arabally and her husband went to the B&B to eat and she told Schonene the situation.

Schonene pointed to Vigil and said, “That’s your guy.”

Vigil, 38, who said his passion is cooking, wanted to do it — but not give just 10 percent of proceeds, but 100 percent. He got the use of the restaurant and there will be silent auctions items, too, from local businesses and Vigil’s mom is baking caramel apple pies.

“How can you say no to that face?” Vigil said about Jenimae.

Vigil and Arabally said they know this time in Jenimae’s life is crucial, her being able to hear sounds, formulate sounds, so she can start to learn to talk.

They hope people hear the call to help.