Name: Bruno Serato
Profession: Owner/Chef Anaheim White House; Founder, Caterina’s Club
“Hello my name is Bruno Serato, and my dream is for every child, no matter where they live, to have a hot meal before they are tucked into bed.”
Anaheim White House Chef and owner Bruno Serato caters to the rich and famous. In fact, his pasta dishes cost $25 or more. But there’s one group of customers that gets his special attention—nearby motel kids.
“Six and a half years ago, my mom Caterina came to visit me from Italy. I brought her to the Boys and Girls Club, and we saw a seven year old boy eating a bag of potato chips for dinner. My mom said, ‘you need to feed him pasta.’ That was my turning point,” says Serato.
“We started out with a handful of kids. Then it grew to 60, 70, 150 kids, and now we feed nearly 300 kids, seven nights a week,” says Serato.
He says the past six-and-a-half years haven’t been easy. A few years ago, when the economy took a spiral down, so did his business. He had to make the tough decision to either stop feeding the kids or continue paying out of his own pocket, even though he was making no money.
Serato says, “I decided to keep cooking. You see, I came from a poor family. My mom and dad both worked hard for a living. There were seven kids, and sometimes we only had leftover bread to share amongst us all.”
To date, he’s fed more than 330,000 hungry mouths.
“I always thought people living in motels just didn’t want to pay the money for nicer places to stay. In fact, these are families - working moms and dads - who can’t afford anything else, even to feed their kids.”
He recently had a meeting with the President of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. He hopes all 6,000 clubs mimic his program. He says, “It’s not hard. If at least 15 restaurants in each area step up and feed 10 kids each, we will have solved this major problem.”
In March, CNN named Serato a Top 10 Hero of the World for his work feeding hungry kids. The public votes for their favorite hero, and the winner gets a money prize.
“If I win, I want to create a program to help kids and their families move out of the motel by paying their first and last month’s rent for a new place. If you could see the looks in these kids eyes every time they’re fed, every time I take time out to be with them, then you’d see why I do this!”