Heroes Of The COVID Crisis: How Sir Bruno Serato of Caterina’s Club Moved “Motel Families” Into Permanent Housing
An Interview With Phil La Duke
STEADFASTNESS — Be resourceful and keep ongoing. When my nonprofit, Caterina’s Club, was in danger of extinction due to the 2008 recession, I mortgaged my home twice to keep it afloat. And when my restaurant, Anaheim White House Italian Steakhouse, where I prepare pasta for the kids each and every day, burned to the ground, I found another kitchen to use until my restaurant was rebuilt.
As part of my series about people who stepped up to make a difference during the COVID19 Pandemic I had the pleasure of interviewing Sir Bruno Serato
Sir Bruno Serato arrived in the U.S. from his native Italy speaking no English with only $200 in his pocket. Through hard work and determination, he worked his way up from busboy to owner of the critically acclaimed Anaheim White House restaurant, whose patrons include U.S. Presidents, sports stars, and celebrities. But it’s his work with children that have earned him an international reputation. Serato launched the nonprofit in 2005 after he and his mother, Caterina, visited a local Boys and Girls Club. There, they saw a 7-year-old boy eating a bag of potato chips and when she learned that the snack was all he had for dinner, she instructed her son to head back to the restaurant and feed the children pasta. What started with one meal has turned into feeding some 5,000 children daily, more than 3M million meals have been served, and the need keeps growing. Caterina’s Club is currently serving 90 sites in 30 cities.
He has extended his mission by moving “motel families” into permanent housing. While many of the families are working and able to pay the monthly rent for their own apartments, they cannot afford the first, last, and security deposit required at the onset. He has already helped over 220 families escape motel living by finding them apartments of their own and their lives have improved considerably.