Bruno Serato, owner of Anaheim White House Restaurant, wanted a way to honor his beloved Italian mother. In 2003, when Serato’s mother was visiting from Italy, she took a tour of the Boys & Girls Club of Anaheim. While there the director of the club informed her that the majority of children who come to the Boys & Girls club lived in local motels. She was saddened to hear that many did not eat dinner due to lack of money. The majority of these children would wait until the following morning to eat at school where they received state-funded free meals. It was then that Serato’s mother told her son that no child should go without a meal. She told her son to go back to the restaurant immediately and prepare pasta dinners for the children.
In Anaheim alone, there are approximately 2,000 homeless children living in motels. Of the 140 hotels and motels located in the city of Anaheim, 50 to 75 are considered residential motels often populated by homeless families.
After that night, Serato was inspired to create “Caterina’s Girls Club,” an organization (named after his mother) that provides a freshly made pasta dinner six nights a week to underprivileged children. These nightly dinners underwritten in part by Serato and the selfless efforts of Caterina’s Girls Club equates to 47,000 meals a year. At that initial Catarina’s Girls Club meeting, Serato had 75 women in attendance willing to join the cause. Through their major fund raising efforts, Caterina’s Girls Club has also been able to purchase a 12-seat passenger van. This van helps provide transportation to and from the Boys & Girls Club from the Anaheim motels where the children live. Caterina’s Girls Club has expanded their fund raising efforts to also provide free dental, piano lessons, and tutoring to the children.
Bruno Serato and Caterina’s Girls Club were recently featured in the June 3rd, 2010 issue of Woman’s Day. In that article, Serato recounted a story of a young, shy girl he met while serving the pasta dinners at the Boys & Girls Club. “One very thin girl was still hungry after her plate of pasta but was too timid to ask for seconds. Bruno quietly offered her another plate. ‘My eyes teared up as she gobbled it down,’ he says. ‘No kid should leave the pasta meal still hungry,’ he says.”
To help support the cause of Caterina’s Girls Club, donations can be sent to Anaheim White House Restaurant, Attention: Caterina’s Girls Club, 887 South Anaheim Boulevard, Anaheim, California 92805. To contact the restaurant by telephone, (714) 772-1381.
For more information, please go to the Anaheim White House Restaurant website here, and click on Caterina’s Club.
Woman’s Day magazine, June 3, 2010 issue