Dear wonderful Youngevity Distributors,
Youngevity Be The Change Foundation is proud to announce a new addition to our family of Charities! Few things strike the heart more than the sight of a hungry child – particularly when those hungry children live in our country and in our neighborhoods. Los Angeles area Chef Bruno Serato has run a very successful restaurant (The White House) and catering business for over 20 years. What makes him especially interesting is his heart for the children that live in the area that surrounds the restaurant itself. Chef Bruno noticed the many motels that were in the immediate area and every afternoon, the many, many children who were left there, mostly on their own as both parents worked to keep even that roof over their heads. Most of those children only received meals at the public school that they attended and worried about them, Chef Bruno and his mother decided that they could help. Every afternoon, from that day forward, he has fed the children in the area of his restaurant a meal of pasta and vegetables that he donates and prepares in the kitchen and serves in the closed restaurant from 3-5pm. Over the years, this program has grown to feed 1500 children in other Los Angeles poor areas through corporate sponsorship from Barilla and other food companies and in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Anaheim areas. Chef Bruno has also expanded the program to include teaching the older children to cook the meals so they not only can help feed their own families, but also have trade experience to gain employment when they are old enough. To accomplish all of the above,Chef Bruno and his Mother founded Caterina’s Club, a 501 c (3) non profit organization and we are proud to announce Youngevity Be The Change has joined with them! We feel that Caterina’s Club is an inspiring and worthy addition to the Youngevity Be The Change Foundation list of sponsored charities for many reasons. First, helping to feed hungry children in America is a cause we should get behind and breaking the chain of hopelessness is one of our core missions. Protecting the integrity of our Foundation with thorough research into each of the histories of all of our selected charities is a pledge we make to all of you so that you can have peace of mind and trust in the decisions of the Board. The Youngevity Be The Change Foundation made a donation of $10,000.00 to Caterina’s Club last month and we look forward to introducing you all to Chef Bruno Serato soon at one of Youngevity’s events. We anticipate that in addition to feeling proud to be a part of his mission, he will inspire you to act as he did and look for ways to help you Be The Change in your own communities.
Feeding the children was an immediate need that Chef Bruno and his mother, Caterina, set out to accomplish and he has made a difference in families that without his involvement, would otherwise go to bed hungry. But that didn’t end his desire to make a change in the circumstances that kept the cycle of poverty hopeless.
In 2005, Bruno and his mother, Caterina, visited the Boys and Girls Club of Anaheim down the street from his restaurant (Anaheim White House), where his mother noticed that there was a 6-year old boy eating potato chips for dinner, because his family couldn’t afford a proper meal. Caterina insisted that Bruno make some pasta for the child. They soon realized that there were many more of these hungry ‘motel children’, so Bruno began making pasta for 72 children, 5 nights a week, giving birth to our program “Feeding the Kids in America”. Today, that event has expanded to feeding nearly 1,200 children, 5 nights a week. Frustrated that feeding the children was not enough, Bruno began a second program called “Welcome Home”, where we provide qualified families, living in the dark environment of a motel, with the necessary resources to move into the safety and stability of an apartment or condo.
Chef Bruno’s point was that hard working parents could never save the money to get themselves and their children out of the motels and that motel environment was a danger to the children, especially as they aged. His well-founded fear was that as the children grew older, they became targets for other motel unsavory inhabitants – Thus the Welcome Home program was established. Chef Bruno researches families that have steady income and Caterina’s Club Foundation provides the approximately $4000.00 needed to post first and last month’s rent and move out of the motel environment into Section 8 housing. These lives are so largely impacted that he hears from many of the grown children that have now graduated college and moved on to successful careers that they largely attribute to his generosity. He is insistent that his and Caterina’s Club’s involvement was a hand up not a hand out and that he provided meals and hope, what they did next was take to the opportunity themselves to break the cycle and climb out. He is the change in many, many lives.
This particular foundation has the ability to be replicated by anyone, anywhere as we have so many distributors in all 50 states that we can foresee distributors reaching out to restaurants in their own communities to do just what he has done. Obviously, this can have a global impact as well in the near future as Youngevity continues to make footprints around the world. In America, Chef Bruno maintains that a restaurant, the Boys and Girls club and willing staff is all that is needed. In fact, he now has expanded his reach to Brownsville Texas. His next target is the state of Florida. (Dave and I actually have a connection to a chain of cuban restaurants in South Florida with whom we have explored their willingness to replicate this powerful community outreach). I truly believe that this can explode and will deeply resonate with anyone who wants to make a difference in their own community in America.
Caterina’s Club also has a Holiday program that provides two toys for the children the Club feeds: one from their parents, and one from “Santa”. Chef Bruno said the children never get presents and they go back to school after their winter break to hear and see the presents other children received from their parents or Santa, making them even more heartbroken. The Youngevity Be The Change Foundation has made an additional donation to help with this giving of hope. It touches our hearts that because of our distributor’s support of the Foundation – as well as the generosity of Youngevity International, each distributor has had a hand in helping feed children right here in America – and also helped create joy in a child’s life during the holiday season.
You have made a difference in so many lives this year and we look forward to sharing more great news with you in January with the announcement of another new charity – from the special place of one of Youngevity’s own family members! Thank you for Being The Change that is needed in the world and your giving hearts and action led RAKs this year. May you experience peaceful times close to family and special feelings of gratitude during your holidays and may God bless each and every one of you.
Lisa “Sunshine” Briskie
Youngevity Be The Change Foundation