Anaheim White House celebrates 26th annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony

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Anaheim White House restaurant is hosting its annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Sunday, Nov. 24 and will kick off the start of the holiday season with a toy drive that benefits the homeless children who live with their families in motels in Orange County.

This is the 26th year the Italian steakhouse restaurant located at 887 S. Anaheim Blvd. in Anaheim is organizing the event and month-long toy drive.

Proceeds from the event and toys collected will go to Caterina’s Club, a non-profit organization that provides meals, support and shelter to the children living in motels.

Anaheim White House General Manager Sylvano Ibay, who is half-Filipino, serves as vice president of Caterina’s Club. His uncle, Chef Bruno Serato, owner of the Anaheim White House, founded Caterina’s Club in the mid-200s while serving as a board member at the Boys and Girls Club in Anaheim.

Since then, Caterina’s Club has served 300 low-income children a nutritionally balanced meal of pasta and vegetables seven nights a week. More than 500,000 have been served to date.

For his work in the community, Serato was chosen as a Top 10 CNN Hero in 2011 and received the Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s Presidential Award.

Sunday’s Christmas tree lighting event and dinner will feature holiday characters such as Santa Claus, Rudolph and Frosty, the Snow Man.

White snow will surround the 20-foot Christmas tree in front of the historic restaurant.

The tree lighting ceremony will honor the Most Reverand Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange Kevin Vann, Craig and Roseli Wildvank, Jim Woodin, and the late Fred Ibay, the former co-owner and day manager of the Anaheim White House.

A cocktail reception will start the event at 6 p.m. before the tree lighting ceremony and dinner.

The cost of the event is $125. For more information or reservations call (714) 772-1381 for reservations. To donate to Caterina’s Club visit

Toys must be new and unwrapped and are for boys and girls ages 6 – 18. Gift Cards are also welcome.

(Joseph Pimentel)

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