The Salsa Grill shares the true meaning of the holidays

December 07, 2011

As everyone gears up for shopping and decorating, The Salsa Grill is gearing up for giving.

Most restaurants are wrapped up in holiday bookings and catering orders, however head chef and co-owner of The Salsa Grill, Marco Zapien, and his team have been busy organizing a toy drive with local churches St. Hilary and St. Mariana.

Beginning December 1 “The Grill” will collect unwrapped toys for both Pico Rivera parishes to distribute to struggling families within the community this holiday season.

In exchange for the unwrapped toys every child (12 and under) who brings one will eat free and every adult will receive 50 percent off his or her meal. The incentive is offered Monday-Saturday from open to close.

“We don’t want to get caught up only in the entertainment and shopping this holiday season,” said Zapien. “That said, We want to be a part of making Christmas special for those in our community who are in need, especially those with children.”

According to Marie Martinez, the business director at St. Mariana an estimated 250 families reach out to the parish for food and other goods during the holiday season.

“These donations really make a difference,” said Martinez.

The Salsa Grill’s toy drive ends Saturday, Dec. 17.

Additionally, Chef Zapien has worked out a menu for El Monte resident, Adali Gutierrez and his family for Christmas Eve dinner. Zapien is donating a meal from appetizer to dessert, including an assortment of hand-made Tamales, Chili Colorado and mini desserts.

Gutierrez, 20, lost his parents in a drug cartel shooting in 2008 and cares for his four siblings by working two jobs, but still struggles to pay rent, utilities and food.

“I read about Adali’s struggles, and I had to do something,” said Zapien.