The end of a year always seems to come sooner than expected. As usual, I am both proud and humbled as I reflect on all the Carino's Foundation has accomplished. From the Gold Stirrup horse show at the Star of Texas Rodeo to supporting our own Carino's family in Joplin, we have been privileged to partner with some incredible organizations.
Continuing our efforts to better the lives of youth in our community, we were the presenting sponsor of the 10th annual Help Clifford Help Kids concert event last month, featuring musician Bob Schneider. This concert gala benefits American Youthworks, which helps transform the lives of at-risk youth through education, job training and services. The event was started by Clifford Antone, owner of the legendary Antone's live music venue in Austin, and has become American Youthworks' largest fundraiser of the year. Although Clifford Antone is no longer with us, his charitable spirit and passion lives on with this important event that changes the path for many young lives.
To reinforce our giving culture throughout the Carino's organization, the staff at our Restaurant Support Center in Austin, Texas participated in a pre-holiday food drive for the Capital Area Food Bank. Dividing up into teams, we competed to see which team could bring in the most pounds of food. High stakes were on the line as the losing team would be responsible for cooking lunch for the winning team. To raise the stakes, the Carino's Foundation pledged to give $1 to the CAFB for every pound of food donated. The spirit of competition took hold, much trash-talking ensued, and soon our office lobby was taken over by a mountain of canned and boxed goods. When all was weighed and loaded onto the truck, it was grand total of 5,464 pounds! Even the losing team can feel good about participating in such a successful effort, and I loved writing that check to CAFB, ensuring a better Christmas for many central Texas families.
Our restaurants also got into the holiday giving spirit. All 11 of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area locations hosted an Angel Tree, allowing staff members and customers to provide a happy Christmas to a needy family in their area. Many restaurants also supported local fundraisers, charity events and toy drives. A Carino's in south Austin donated dinner to Blue Santa volunteers who were busily sorting all the toy donations.
It is wonderful to see our staff come together like this and embrace a spirit of giving. That was always my vision for this Foundation - that we could make a positive impact on our community and instill a culture of giving throughout the company. As we bring 2011 to a close and look forward to another great year in 2012, I am prouder than ever of my Carino's family.
Creed Ford III
President, Carino's Foundation
President and CEO, Carino's Italian