Looking for a fun holiday activity to get into the spirit of the season? Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse is hosting families at their Gingerbread House Workshop on Sunday, December 15, from noon to 2 p.m.

The event will welcome children of all ages to join Davio’s pastry chef Lena Huynh as she demonstrates how to create the perfect personalized gingerbread house. Each child will receive a gingerbread house of their very own to decorate while families enjoy lunch. 

The purpose of the event is not only to spread holiday cheer, but to give back to the community as well. Every family is asked to bring one unwrapped toy which will be donated to a charity close to Davio’s heart, the Illumination Foundation (IF). 

(Courtesy of Davio’s)

“We were first introduced to Illumination Foundation while participating in last year’s OC Chef’s Table at Disneyland. Davio’s loves to get involved with multiple philanthropic events throughout the year, and this charity was one that instantly touched our hearts,” explained Davio’s CEO, Steve DiFillippo.

Originating as a class project by UCI graduate students, the Illumination Foundation is a nonprofit, non-denominational, grassroots organization whose mission is to break and prevent the cycle of homelessness in Orange County. 

The foundation provides services to our county’s most vulnerable adults and children — a vital need with more than 50,000 homeless in Southern California alone. Since 2008, IF has provided housing and health care to more than 10,000 at-risk individuals and families. 

“Every person deserves compassion, dignity and the safety of a place to call home,“ says Paul Cho, co-founder and CFO of Illumination Foundation.

Recently, Orange County released its Point in Time Count, a federally mandated biennial report that addresses the homeless crisis affecting OC citizens. Recent data shows that close to 7,000 are officially homeless in Orange County, with an estimated 3,961 sleeping on the streets. 

Operating a shelter in Anaheim, IF does all it can to assist those without homes — providing immediate relief when necessary, as well as housing, case management, medical care, mental health services and workforce services. Their low-entry threshold allows them to help thousands of people, filling a critical gap in the continuum of care for the homeless.

Winter can be an especially tumultuous time for those lacking reliable shelter. The cold and wet weather exacerbates health problems and the lack of stability makes the season especially difficult. These difficulties are why Davio’s Irvine has partnered with the Illumination Foundation, in hopes of spreading joy to those who need it most. 

More than 30,000 youth are homeless in Southern California. The gifts collected at the workshop will be distributed to children experiencing this crisis. 

“When choosing a charity to partner with for the Gingerbread House Workshop, Illumination Foundation was an obvious choice. We are excited to welcome guests to Davio’s on December 15 for an afternoon of holiday fun, food and family!” invited  DiFillippo. 

Those who would like to participate in the event can purchase tickets through Davio’s Irvine website, davis.com/irv. Tickets are $55 per child. Each child must be accompanied by an adult. Davio’s is located at 18420 Von Karman Avenue, Irvine, and was recently featured in our Best Of Irvine issue.