Sometimes we think of corporations as heartless, faceless entities who are only concerned with the bottom line. But we forget that those corporations are made up of individuals and those individuals, working with the power of a corporation behind them, can make a significant impact, especially when focused on their community. That’s the case with the Pompano Beach-based Carrabba’s Italian Grill. The corporation that owns the chain, Bloomin’ Brands, also operates Bonefish Grill, Fleming’s Prime Steak, and Outback Steakhouse (hence the company name, derived from Outback’s signature dish, the Bloomin’ Onion).
The Pompano Beach outlet cares so much about giving back to the community that it has a local Director of Fund Raising, Lucille Coppola. Lucille has been a leader in pairing with the Broward Sherrif’s Office (BSO). As she explains, “The partnership between the BSO Pompano CORE Team and Carrabba’s Pompano Beach has created a positive impact across the City of Pompano Beach. It has brought together community residents/students/schools, all with the intention of one goal: unity.”
Among the events organized by Coppola and Carrabba’s are:
- A toy drive that started on Thanksgiving. Any customer who brought in an unwrapped toy received a free appetizer or dessert.
- The restaurant team assembled more than 700 holiday baskets to sell at the restaurant, with all proceeds used to buy toys.
- The restaurant held a holiday raffle, donating gift items worth $200-250 to raise money. The team fed 50 people with its homeless outreach program for Thanksgiving.
- Hosted a dinner honoring 40 Veterans.
- Sponsored the chili cookoff between BSO and the local fire department.
- Hosted 40 families and the officers, after the “Shop With a Cop” event at Walmart.
- Sponsored a family with seven children with Christmas toys, food, and gift cards in conjunction with the local Kiwanis group and Henderson House.
- Hosted an outdoor Christmas Fair, to raise money for toys with BSO, the local fire department, and Santa in attendance.
- Sponsored the pediatric cancer unit at Broward General Hospital, bringing toys to 50 children and feeding their families a holiday meal.
All that work paid off with the restaurant’s Christmas Extravaganza held on Dec 22. Carrabba’s and BSO were able to donate 600 toys for the children in the community. They fed all the volunteers who helped and made that night special for all the children and their families. Through its combination of fundraisers and donations by Carrabba’s employees of their time and energy, they were able to raise more than $5,000.
Vickie Willis, the proprietor of Carrabba’s Pompano Beach, says, “Charity work is very important to us, it is part of our foundation. Giving for the sake of giving, rather than for the sake of gaining; being genuinely warm and welcoming, caring, inclusive, kind, and sincerely seeing to the comfort and well-being of others. These are the principles and beliefs that set Carrabba’s apart from any other restaurant. We are proud to serve our community and being partnered with BSO.”
Thank you to Carrabba’s for hosting the OutSFL holiday lunch in December. The food was fabulous and we’re most appreciative.