Enjoying the gala, left to right: Jim Beauvais, SVP Marketing and Merchandising, Albertsons/Vons/ Pavilions; Lori Beauvais; Donald Verleur, CEO, Olive Crest; Hillary Verleur; Dr. Donald and Lois Verleur, Founders, Olive Crest; Bryan Kaltenbach, President, Food4Less; and Mary Kaltenbach.
On February 9, over 300 food industry professionals with a heart for abused children gathered at the Grove in Anaheim for a remarkable Broadway-esque evening. This first Grocery Industry President’s Gala honored Bryan Kaltenbach (Food4Less), Mike Mortensen (Smart & Final), and Jim Beauvais (Albertsons) as past and present Food Industry Round Table presidents, a group formed to partner with Olive Crest five years ago. More than $350,000 was raised to support Olive Crest’s mission to end child abuse forever. Guests were treated to live Broadway acts throughout the evening, as well as testimonials from Olive Crest kids.
A story that our Chaplain, Frank Fried, shared demonstrates how life-changing summer camp really is. Camp is fun…really fun! But what if fun is something that you’re not familiar or really comfortable with? Camp can be a challenge; it can even be traumatic.
As a camp counselor, when Frank returned to the cabin one day, he found a 14-year-old Olive Crest camper sitting on the stairs to their cabin…crying. Frank sat down, comforting him, and asked what was wrong. The teen wasn’t really sure why he was crying, but as they talked for a little bit, they figured out that he was feeling very un-nerved by how wonderful camp was.
As they talked, Frank learned that the vast majority of the teen’s upbringing had been very traumatic. He was comfortable with conflict and expecting the worst. However, camp was amazingly safe and delightfully fun…and had to be too good to be true from his perspective. It was a Christian camp, and he couldn’t believe that there could be so many happy, nice, and friendly people there.
Many of the kids that come to Olive Crest experience a way of life that they had never let themselves dream of. They experience real family, real love, real patience, and real forgiveness. For those who’ve grown up in a safe and loving family, it’s hard to appreciate how foreign that can be to a child, teen, or an adult.
Your support is helping make a drastic change in the lives of so many children and youth. Thank you!
Read more about Chaplain Frank’s thoughts on at-risk youth and camp.