I need to start this post with a THANK YOU. Thank you to all the KFI listeners, clients, friends and families that came together for another HUGELY successful KFI PastaThon to benefit Caterina's Club.
I'm never amazed at how generous the KFI audience is. But I am amazed at how much this event grows each year, thanks to you telling just one more person each year about it.
For those that don't know the story. My family and I moved to Orange in 1987, the same year Chef Bruno Serato bought the Anaheim White House. I went to El Modena High School and for my junior and senior years '89 and '90, I had dinner at the restaurant for a few big school dances because, well, it was a REALLY fancy place. But it wasn't until 1999 that I met Bruno officially when I was producing Handel's show here at KFI. I was looking for a place for the Handel show to do a live broadcast play about Bill Clinton's testimony in the Monica Lewinsky case. We chose the Anaheim White House because it looked like the White House in front. We had a great event there, it was tons of fun.
Fast forward to 2010, when I saw a news report about a chef, whose restaurant was suffering in the recession, business was down more than 30%, but despite that, he had mortgaged his own home to keep feeding 300 children each week. I couldn't remember at the time just why the chef looked familiar, but when I asked my husband about it he said, 'that's the chef of the restaurant where we did the Clinton play, Chef Bruno.' So I called Bruno and asked him if he remembered me and KFI and he said he did. That's when I told him that I needed him to come on the air and talk to Handel about what he was doing because I wanted more people to know about how passionate he was about helping children.
That year, Chef Bruno was feeding just 300 kids each week, kids who were living with their families in local motels without access to a kitchen and without Bruno would not get a hot meal at night. We brought Bruno on the air for one segment to talk about what he was doing, at the end of the interview Handel said simply 'If you want to help Chef Bruno feed these kids, send a donation here to KFI and we'll get it to him.'
In 5 weeks, we received $80,000. That's when we knew we had to do more. In 2011, we started our official all-day 'PastaThon' event, and each year, the event gets bigger because the need has grown.
Today, Chef Bruno is feeding 25,000 kids a week at 90 locations in 30 cities in Southern California. In addition, he is helping qualified families move OUT of these motels and back into stable homes and runs a Hospitality Program, that trains teens, giving them the skills they need to work in the hospitality industry, so that when they're ready to get a job, they already have the skills they need. These three prongs of the Caterina's Club program helps to break the cycle of poverty.
This year, our PastaThon event raised a total of $435,499 (we received more donations over the weekend!) and 109,000 pounds of pasta & sauce. That is simply amazing, and I can not thank each and every one of you enough for your donations.
Since 2010, KFI listeners have raised $2,800,855 and 510,291 pounds of pasta & sauce, for this small, local charity, and I am so humbled by that. It's only because of you that this is possible.
Over the years, we've added partners to this event, Smart & Final and Barilla and so many clients here at KFI have supported this event. Every year, I work a 19-hour day for this event because I WANT to, I want to meet as many of you as possible, and thank you individually for your support for this event and for KFI. It means the world to me.