Local restaurant serving up BBQ dinners in support of 12-year-old struck by bullet

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TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Local businesses are serving up warm BBQ meals with a drive-thru fundraiser in support of 12-year-old MJ Rivera who was shot by a stray bullet last week.

MJ’s mom Jona Rivera went to the Iron Works Grill fundraiser. She called MJ while she was there and showed MJ the murals in front of the restaurant. Jona said she was blown away by seeing lines of cars down the street and the communities response.

“We really appreciate it, and MJ really appreciates it. It took me over 20 minutes just to get into he Iron Works Grill parking lot. We are just so thankful for everybody,” said MJ’s mom. 

“Our motto is Troy Strong.” 

Members of the community say they want to show MJ what “Troy Strong” truly means. MJ Rivera is paralyzed from the waist down, with very minimal to no chance of walking again, however the Rivera family is staying positive.

“I think people are saying enough is enough, let’s stand together and thats whats happening. It’s time the community has been through a pandemic and so much more. Now we are standing together,” said Howard Gross, Owner of Iron Works Grill.

The Iron Works Grill in Troy hosted a lunch and dinner COVID-19 safe drive-thru BBQ fundraiser on Monday. The dinner included 1/4 of chicken, potato salad, baked beans and cornbread.

A handful of local businesses participated in the fundraiser. They sold Helmbolds hot dogs and Red Front Restaurant & Tavern Fresh Pizza for lunch.

All the money raised will go to help MJ’s family with medical expenses. It’s a $10 minimum donation. The Troy Fire Department donated $500 to the Rivera family.

Local artists painted murals outside the Iron Works Grill. They want to raise awareness through their work.

“I want the community to express their ideas through our hands. I want to get the kids in Troy involved and give them an option not to get involved in drugs, gang violence and shootings,” said Chris McDermott, Founder of Troy Art Group.

Many people said they don’t know the Rivera family personally, but they just wanted to do something to help.

“MJ is going to be in a wheel chair. The child has a long battle ahead and we need to stop this. There are shootings everyday in Troy, and I don’t know what the solution is. We have to do something, and somebody has to step up,” said Edward McAvoy, Owner of Collar City Painting LLC.

“Unfortunately this is a terrible circumstance, but you know it just shows that we are all in this together. No matter what, we are all affected,” said Rebecca Delgaizo.

“MJ just has a positive outlook, and we couldn’t get through without our baby,” said MJ’s mom Jona Rivera.

MJ is expected to be moved from Albany Medical Center to a local rehab center on Tuesday.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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