Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society provides grassroots leadership and an inclusive process, with a voice for all community members, to ensure that our community grows and develops in a way that incorporates an environmental ethic, offers a range of housing and transportation choices, encourages a vibrant and cultural life and supports sustainable, meaningful employment and business opportunities.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Michael's Musings

Bruno Serato plans to expand meal program for 'motel kids'
By Michael J Morris
When my friend Bruno Serato invited me to attend the annual lighting of the Christmas tree at his Anaheim White House restaurant, with real snow falling during the ceremony, I just couldn't resist making the trip to California.
Imagine, me a kid from Northern Ontario, brought up in a village surrounded by Christmas trees, going to California for a tree lighting with snow.
What I didn't know when I left Canada was that because of his mother Caterina, Bruno was on a mission to feed "motel kids" at that time in Orange County, CA but since is spreading across the United States.
On a trip to visit Bruno, Mrs. Serato learned that children at a Boys and Girls Club were not getting proper nourishment, so she told her son to feed them.
Not one to disobey his mother and having been brought up in a poor family in Europe, arriving in the United States with very little, Bruno started to feed "motel kids" pasta every night from his restaurant. The pasta was made by Bruno or his executive chef and was provided at no charge.
"Motel kids"  live in cheap motels because their families can not afford apartments or houses.
Bruno started his project nine years ago, and every night, a van leaves his restaurant at dinner time filled with meals, and is delivered to Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs or other locations where the motel kids gather. I saw it first hand during my visit.
On the first night, Bruno says he fed 75 kids and now, nine years later, he estimates he has fed 750,000 children.
"I didn't want to stop so I've done it every night since then," Bruno said in an interview with the Huntington Beach Independent.
 CNN aired a story on him recently.  He had been awarded the CNN Hero's Award in 2011 for his work in Orange County, and his mission to feed underprivileged children around the United States which the Huntington Beach online paper notes.

 "From 2005 to 2009, we were averaging about 150 kids a day," he told the Huntington Beach Independent. "After 2009, the economy crashed and [the average] jumped to about 300 to 400 kids a day."  It is more now.

With help from the Boys & Girls Club of Anaheim, Bruno started the nonprofit Caterina's Club, named after his which aims to provide dinner for children in dire living situations, such as those living in motels.

Now Bruno wants to expand the program.

"My goal is to get every Boys & Girls Club in the country to feed kids," he said in the newspaper interview. "It's a piece of cake to do. I don't perform miracles. God does miracles. I just use two hands to cook pasta."
Somehow, after spending time with Bruno, I believe he will do it. Bruno says it is a "piece of cake to do." Well, when I was visiting him, one day he asked me my favourite desert. I have several but blurted out, "lemon tarts". It seemed like within moments I had a tray of fresh lemon tarts --- the best I ever tasted --- in front of me.
Somehow, my visit with Bruno Serato turned into much, much more than the lighting of a Christmas tree celebration, although I am well aware of the metaphorical connection. 
I am sharing Bruno's story about feeding the hungry which I have thought about more than the lighting of the Christmas tree, although that was pretty cool, especially the real snow that came falling down .

Who knows?  Maybe in Canada there will be some who would like to follow his example. If so, please feel free to contact me for more information. My email is

Full disclosure: I am not now and never have been a member of the Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society; however, I did conduct a workshop for its members for which I was paid.


  1. Micheal, it really is a Christmas spirit story being relived each and every day in California. Your friend Bruno has a generous heart. Thanks for sharing the story.

  2. Bruno haas advised me that his mother Caterina has died at age 89. My deepest sympathy to Bruno and his family. "Requiescat In Pace"