Thursday, October 7, 2010

A night to remember

Hungry kids are in every community, in every city and town across our great country. With the economy still suffocating, the problem is only getting worse. I learned about this appalling truth from a documentary called The Motel Kids of Orange County, written by Alexandria Pelosi. There are hundreds of struggling people living in our very communities who are trying to raise their families while desperately trying to keep any sort of roof over their heads.
And sadly, their kids are hungry. The documentary was shocking, mainly because Orange County, CA is one of the richest places in the world. In the shadows of Disney Land, the self titled "happiest place on earth", there are hundreds of kids who are living in such squalor, that sometimes they can go days without a bite to eat.
Finding toys in a dumpster
Chef Bruno, of the Anaheim White House Restaurant, is one person who is making a difference in these kids lives. Everyday he makes pasta for these hungry children, and delivers it to the Boys and Girls Club of Anaheim. For over 5 years now, the kids have at least one hot meal which is made by one of the top chefs in Orange County. He is only one man, but he's one man who is doing so much. And the amount of mouths he feeds keep growing. When he started this program, he was feeding about 30 kids. Now he feeds close to 200, and he has a goal to feed 300, because he knows there are kids out there who just don't know that there is a safe, friendly place to go, where they can even get a hot meal.
Plates of spaghetti
A friend of mine, Sandie Ward, and her husband Joe decided to try to help Chef Bruno out by raising one months budget for the meals. Each and every month, for more than 5 years, Chef Bruno pays $2500 out of pocket to feed these kids. So, as you can imagine, every ounce of help is greatly appreciated. As the economy slows, more and more kids become homeless and hungry, but the restaurant is slower, too. Yet Chef Bruno would never think of not feeding these kids. It has, however, made him a little more creative. Now he asks his patrons to contribute one package of pasta when they come to dine. It's so little to ask, really.

Sandie & Joe Ward with Chef Bruno
It was an inspiring evening, the kind that makes your heart feel full for doing just a little bit to help out. Chef Bruno explained to us why it was so important for him to bring so much hope to these kids. His life is a story in itself. He came from a large family, and was one of many children raised in small village in the French countryside. His family was so poor that the neighbors often took pity on them and donated their hand me down clothes to Bruno and his brothers and sisters. Although they didn't have much, his mother would never turn away a hungry friend. There was always enough of pasta to share with others. So his devotion to his Mother continues with the devotion he shows to these kids. There are all kinds of heroes in our communities, and Chef Bruno deserves a medal of honor for being a hero to these motel kids of Anaheim.


  1. Update: Chef Bruno was just awarded the Humanitarian of the Year award by the Anaheim Film Festival! Well done!

  2. Next time I visit we'll have to have dinner with Chef Bruno! What an awesome human being!

  3. gsc, great idea! i really want to get out there for lunch sometime soon. i'll do a reconnaissance mission, ok?