More than 400 children from underprivileged families got a break from the realities of the real world recently – if only for an afternoon. The “motel kids,” as they’ve come to be known, enjoyed an afternoon of holiday joy that included a pre-Thanksgiving dinner and lots of playtime in real snow, all compliments of CNN Hero Sir Bruno Serato who owns the Anaheim White House in Anaheim, CA.
Serato, who in addition to running his Italian Steakhouse feeds warm pasta dinners to 1,000 motel kids each and every night, transformed the popular restaurant’s parking lot on Nov. 19 (National Philanthropy Day). Fifteen tons of real snow was trucked in and volunteers created mini slopes for sledding. After enjoying a traditional Thanksgiving meal, children were let loose to sled, have snowball fights and play in the six bounce houses that completed this winter wonderland.
The children, who were bussed in from Boys and Girls Clubs in Long Beach, Costa Mesa, Brea and Anaheim, also enjoyed a dessert station and a meet-and-greet with Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, Queen Elsa, Frosty the Snowman and two Medieval Times characters. They also were able to climb aboard an Anaheim Fire Engine.
Serato has been feeding underprivileged children in Orange County since 2005. It all started, as Editor Patrick Mott wrote in an article in OC Catholic titled “The Power of Pasta,” because of the inspiration of his mother, Caterina Lunardi. She encouraged him to use his skills and talents to feed hungry children. Caterina’s Club was formed and it is from this organization that his efforts and his mother’s wishes have been fulfilled.