Kathy Cervantes grew up in a family with limited money but a lot of love.
On Wednesday morning, she and her husband, Art, helped spread the love for a sixth consecutive year when their restaurant, K&A Downtown Café in Anaheim, hosted a community holiday brunch whose supporters included Anaheim Fire & Rescue.
For three hours on Christmas Eve, from 9 a.m. to noon, an estimated 500 people enjoyed a free breakfast at the family owned and operated café at 201 W. Center St. Promenade.
There were crafts for children and adults, and a visit from Santa with gifts.
“Once a man from nowhere helped us at a grocery store for food,” Cervantes recalled of her childhood. “To this day, my mom remembers what a difference it made.
“If we can make a small difference in someone’s life, that’s a blessing. We don’t always have a lot, but every little bit matters.”
Local families living in hotels, families of children with mental illnesses and other needy folks were treated to the holiday spread.
Cervantes’ recently deceased father, Don Crabtree, founded the K&A location in Anaheim in 2006 and always had been involved in the event, which is a true family affair.
The Cervantes’ five children — Matthew, 24, Michelle, 23, Artie, 9, Kenneth, 10 and Jacob, 9 — help out, although Michelle and her husband, Joey Garcia, couldn’t make it this year because they live in Georgia and have their hands full with their 11-month-old daughter, Avery.
The community breakfast was co-sponsored by Anaheim Cops4Kids, The Harry Potter Alliance, Cervantes Mexican Kitchen, the K&A Café and AT&T Pioneers.
Among the many community members who helped, The Mother Colony House of Anaheim donated presents and helped with the arts and crafts. Anaheim educators, Colony Park and Disney Travel Employees also have been “wonderful and great donators,” Cervantes said.
So has Anaheim Fire & Rescue, said Cervantes, who with her husband has vast experience in owning and operating various restaurants in Santa Ana, Newport Beach, Garden Grove and Anaheim.
“We’re extremely grateful to Anaheim Fire & Rescue,” Cervantes said. “Their participation makes this event even more special for the children.”