The Carino's Foundation



May 22, 2012

Our activities in April for National Autism Awareness Month were a great success. Thanks to your support, we achieved our goal of serving 50,000 kids meals. That accomplishment enabled our $50,000 donation to two organizations that are leading the way for autism research and support for affected families: Autism Speaks and the Autism Society. If you kept an eye on this website last month, you learned about many individual heroes who have devoted their lives to helping this worthy cause. From an 11 year old who advocates for his brother, to the mother who was inspired to give back through the tragic loss of her son, April was filled with amazing stories. If you missed them, you can read all about our Carino's Autism Champions here.

This month we have shifted our attention to Joplin, Missouri.  Today marks a difficult anniversary for our friends in Joplin. It was one year ago that a devastating EF-5 tornado tore through the town. While our Carino's family in Joplin was spared the worst, many homes, schools, churches and businesses were destroyed. The human loss was unspeakable.

In the days, weeks and months following the tornado, it has been inspiring to witness the strength and resolve of the Joplin community. Although five schools were destroyed and another five damaged, school still started on time in August. So many businesses were destroyed or damaged, yet almost all of them have already reopened or have begun rebuilding. Joplin has welcomed over 130,000 volunteers to assist in the recovery efforts.

As Joplin comes together again for a Day of Unity, Carino's is joining in the efforts. Each day this week we will deliver lunch to a group of first-responders. It is our pleasure to recognize some of those who selflessly maneuvered the debris, set aside their own personal losses and assisted their neighbors as best they could:

  • Emergency room nurses at both St. John's Mercy Hospital and Freeman Hospital
  • Joplin Fire Department
  • Joplin Police Department
  • Empire Electric, who worked tirelessly to restore power to the area

We know there are countless others who sacrificed and deserve recognition. To help show our appreciation to the entire Joplin community, we will also feature buy one, get one free entrées all day today, May 22nd.  

To all of our friends and neighbors in Joplin: We join you in remembering what was lost, commemorating the recovery, and looking towards a brighter tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Creed Ford III
President, Carino's Foundation
President and CEO, Carino's Italian


April 25, 2012

Melissa Winter
Founder, The Puzzling Piece

Melissa Winter is a mom on mission. The mother of a 7-year-old boy with autism, Melissa knows the needs and challenges families like hers face each day. She also understands how difficult it can be for schools and organizations to fundraise. With all of this in mind, a degree in jewelry design and a desire to get involved, Melissa created The Puzzling Piece. The Puzzling Piece is a charity that has raised much-needed funds for non-profits and has put almost 250 iPads in the hands of deserving families. 

When Melissa’s son Max was diagnosed with autism six years ago, she was in denial. While Max is now content in his mainstream first-grade classroom, it took enrolling in different schools and extracurricular activities to get to this comfortable place. As the family moved with Max from place to place, Melissa had frequent opportunities to meet other families living autism, as well as the educators, therapists and others who have dedicated their careers to changing lives. The more people Melissa met, the more she realized there was a need for special programs and services. So when her son’s school’s fundraising galas just weren’t bringing in enough money, she stepped up and created unique puzzle piece jewelry designs and sold them to help the school meet its goal. Three years later, The Puzzling Piece is only growing stronger.

Through The Puzzling Piece, individuals can purchase unique autism awareness jewelry, designed by Melissa herself. After covering her expenses, she donates all proceeds to charities that promote autism awareness and support, such as the Autism Society.

In addition to supporting autism charities and spreading awareness through her beautiful jewelry, Melissa created the iPad challenge to help families get iPads. For some individuals on the autism spectrum, the iPad has proven to have communication and educational benefits. Her efforts have made a world of difference, as the families who receive iPads from her write in their countless thank you emails.

It is through her selflessness and drive to help others that Melissa Winter should be recognized as a Carino’s Autism Champion!


April 03, 2012

To kick-off our Carino's Autism Champions, we start with someone who has devoted his life to improving the lives of all people affected by autism.  

Dr. James Ball, Chair, Autism Society's Board of Directors

Dr. James Ball, Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral, is President/CEO of JB Autism Consulting. He has been in the field of autism for over 25 years, providing educational, residential and employment services to children and adults affected by autism. He is also the Director of Clinical Services for New York Families of Autistic Children (NYFAC), a private not-for-profit organization providing support and training for children and families in New York City. He provides private consultation to organizations, schools and families regarding staff training, parent training, home support services, classroom design/support and behavior management/assessment. 

Dr. Ball is also a past member of the Autism New Jersey (formally known as the New Jersey Center for Outreach and Services for the Autism Community [COSAC]) Board of Trustees and a member of the Autism New Jersey Professional Advisory Board. He is currently the chair of the Autism Society's National Board of Directors and has served as the co-chair of Autism Society's Panel of Professional Advisors. He also sits on the advisory board for the Autism Asperger's Digest magazine. Dr. Ball has lectured nationally and internationally on various topics related to autism, such as early intervention, inclusion services, functional behavior assessment, social skills training, behavior management, direct instruction, sensory issues and accountability. He has published in many of the above areas and authored the award-winning breakthrough book Early Intervention and Autism: Real-Life Questions, Real-Life Answers.

Dr. Ball has won numerous awards, including NYFAC's Autism Inspiration Award, Autism Society's Literary Work of the Year Award for his manual on social security and employment for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, and Autism New Jersey's highest honor, their Distinguished Service Award. 


March 29, 2012

I am pleased to announce that, for the third consecutive year, Carino's Italian will again support Autism Speaks and Autism Society for National Autism Awareness Month. We have again set our fundraising goal at $50,000 and we'll raise that money by selling 50,000 kid's meals in April. Bring your family and come join us!

In addition to our $50,000 donation, we are turning our website blue as part of the Autism Speaks "Light It Up Blue" campaign, and we have partnered with the Autism Society for "Carino's Autism Champions." Throughout the month, Carino's Autism Champions will be profiled here on the Carino's Foundation blog. These champions are the everyday people around us that work tirelessly to promote awareness, acceptance, education and resources to benefit all that are touched by autism. In short, they are the ones accomplishing the mission of the Autism Society -- to improve the lives of all affected by autism. I am excited to help shine a spotlight on these folks and publicly thank them for the efforts that too often go unnoticed. Be sure to check back often and read about all of our Carino's Autism Champions.

Our foundation is passionate about the well-being of children. With as many as 1 in every 88 children nationwide who are affected by autism, Carino's recognizes that this epidemic disorder affects many of our guests, employees and staff members. With your help, we can learn more about autism and help to make a meaningful impact on the lives of many families.

Sincerely,

Creed Ford III
President, Carino's Foundation
President and CEO, Carino's Italian


November 28, 2011

Thanks to the generous supporters of our annual Carino's Foundation golf tournament in October, our efforts to help children and families in the communities we serve will continue through 2012.  We hosted our sponsors for a pre-tournament dinner and casino night, giving us an opportunity to express our thanks for their support and show how their contributions have been used to positively affect many lives.  Traci Whitney from Autism Speaks moved all of us when she shared her family's story and offered her personal gratitude for our support of both Autism Speaks and Autism Society.  I, too, am thankful to each of our tournament sponsors for enabling us to assist so many families just like Traci's.  Special thanks go to our 2011 title sponsors:  Tyson, DMA, National Food and Beverage, Maple Leaf and the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort.  We literally could not do this without you.  But 2011 isn't over yet, and the Foundation has been busy.

Partnering with popular syndicated radio show host Kidd Kraddick, 46 of our Carino's locations participated in a fundraiser for Kraddick's own organization "Kidd's Kids." Through this organization, Kidd Kraddick sends terminally and chronically ill children and their families on a dream trip to Disney World.  The passion Kraddick has for these children is contagious and we were impressed by how he mobilizes his fans to support this worthy cause.  His listeners and our customers rallied and came out in force on November 3rd, when 10% of net sales were donated back to Kidd's Kids.  Over $15,000 was raised by the fundraiser alone, and the Carino's Foundation contributed an additional $5,000, for a grand total over $20,000.  To put that in perspective, that is enough to send four additional families on a much deserved vacation, free from worry and stress.  

This is the time of year for giving thanks and for giving.  I am definitely thankful for being able to give all year long, and I appreciate all of those who help enable us to do what we love to do.

Sincerely,

Creed Ford III
President, Carino's Foundation
President and CEO, Carino's Italian


April 29, 2011

Thank you for helping us to help others!  As part of Autism Awareness Month, we took on the challenge to sell 50,000 Pasta Harvest entrées during April in order to raise a $50,000 donation to support individuals and families affected by autism.  We asked you to help us achieve this goal, and you answered wholeheartedly.  Through the support of our loyal guests, we are thrilled to present Autism Speaks and Autism Society each with a $25,000 check to support their important efforts.  We love giving back to the communities we serve, and of course we could not do all this without our customers.

The Carino's Foundation will continue to stay busy this spring.  Today we are proud to sponsor the Carino's Clays for Kids skeet shooting tournament, benefiting First Tee of Greater Austin.  First Tee is a youth development organization that provides young people with educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values, and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.  On May 2nd, we'll help with the Hunger Busters Golf Classic in Dallas, supporting their "Feed the Need" program to provide an important third meal to kids who otherwise might not eat while away from the school's free lunch program. 

Our local restaurants are also active in communities all across the country, hosting benefit nights for local schools and other organizations.  If you're in the Boise/Meridian area on May 10th, stop by either of our locations for dinner and help us raise funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  Be sure to follow us on Facebook to stay up to date on all things Carino's, including any benefit nights at your favorite Carino's location.

I hope you feel as good as I do to know that when you dine at Carino's Italian, you get more than delicious and unique Italian cuisine - you help empower us to be a good corporate citizen in your community.  On behalf of all of us in the Carino's Italian family, I truly thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

Creed Ford III
President, Carino's Foundation
President and CEO, Carino's Italian


March 28, 2011

The Carino's Foundation had a busy month in March with the Gold Stirrup Horse Show, presented in conjunction with the Star of Texas Fair & Rodeo in Austin, Texas.  Held on March 13th, this was the third year for Carino's to sponsor this special rodeo event for equestrians with physical and cognitive disabilities.  In 2009, the show had 32 participants.  This year? Sixty-eight riders and over 220 class entries!  I appreciate the support of our corporate office staff that helped at the event, and even raised some of their own money to provide lunch for the participants in the Carino's Hospitality stall.  A special note of appreciation is extended to our own Janine Hess, who once again served as co-chair of the Gold Stirrup Horse Show.  Check out photos from the event, and congratulations to all the riders!

Moving into April, we shift our attention to Autism Awareness Month.  Did you know, according to the latest Centers for Disease Control study, that 1 in 110 children in the United States suffer from autism?  For boys, that number may be as high as 1 in 70.  This is clearly a growing concern for many families in the communities we serve, and Carino's is committed to supporting these families.  On April 1st, Carino's will embark on two campaigns for Autism Awareness Month.

First, we will support general awareness by turning our website blue in support of Autism Speaks' "Light It Up Blue" campaign.  Second, and most exciting, we have set a goal to sell 50,000 Pasta Harvest entrees during April in order to raise a $50,000 donation to support individuals and families affected by autism.  The donation will be divided equally between two great organizations devoted to autism research, education, early detection, and many more worthwhile and much-needed efforts: Autism Speaks and Autism Society.  We are proud to partner with both of these organizations who are each doing great and important work.

I ask you to join with us in these efforts.  Come in this month for all-you-can-eat Pasta Harvest, and know that you will not only have a delicious meal, but also contribute to a worthy cause.

Sincerely,

Creed Ford III
President, Carino's Foundation
President and CEO, Carino's Italian