The generosity of California restaurateur Bruno Serato hit an extreme milestone this week when he served his millionth free meal to a hungry child.
According to NBC, the chef-owner of Anaheim White House Italian steakhouse in Anaheim, Califl, started serving free pasta dinners to hungry children 10 years ago through his non-profit, “Caterina’s Kitchen.” He reportedly serves about 1,200 meals a day, which takes up about 90 pounds of pasta and 15 gallons of marinara sauce every day, and on Tuesday this week he filled his millionth bowl.
Caterina’s Kitchen is named after Serato’s mother, who inspired him to start the program in 2005 when they stopped by the Anaheim Boys & Girls Club. She saw a little boy there who had only potato chips for dinner and was very upset.
"She definitely did not like that! I mean, imagine Italian mom — pasta, pasta, pasta!" Serato said. She insisted her son make the children a better dinner, and not long after that he started Caterina’s Kitchen and made the pasta dinners a regular affair.
Serato told NBC that it was sometimes difficult to keep the program going. After the crash of the housing bubble, he says his restaurant’s profits plummeted at the same time as more and more children started showing up needing food. But he kept going because the program was “too important” to stop, especially at a time when it was needed the most.
Serato has now given away his millionth meal, but does not intend to stop the dinners. He has also started a program to help families get out of cheap motel rooms and into apartments where the children will be able to have room for homework and to sit down for meals.