Kids get help with hunger through free dinner in Irvine

Caterina’s Club, a nonprofit based in Anaheim, took its mission to help solve hunger to Irvine for the first time Wednesday night.

More than 100 children went to the Irvine branch of the Boys & Girls Club of the Harbor Area for the chance to gobble up a pasta dinner prepared by volunteers and Bruno Serato, the nonprofit’s founder and owner of the Anaheim White House Restaurant.

The Boys & Girls Club of the Harbor Area serves Costa Mesa, Newport Beach and Irvine.

“To see the children come back to the table asking for a second or third plate that night, you see how hungry they are,” Serato said. “But my heart was happy to see them being fed. No matter where you live, there is always someone who needs help.”

Serato formed Caterina’s Club in 2005 after he and his mother, Caterina, visited the Boys & Girls Club of Anaheim. During their trip, they found that not all the children there could afford proper meals. She suggested he make pasta for them, and he “listened to Mamma,” Serato said.

Since then, the organization has been dedicated to feeding Orange County’s “motel children” — kids whose families live in motels and cannot attain meals on a regular basis.

Caterina’s Club feeds children Mondays through Fridays at 25 sites in 12 Southern California cities. Last year, the organization provided about 315,000 meals.