Club gets big boost from local restaurant owner

CARLSBAD — Greg Nelson is always looking for ways to give back to an organization that gave so much to him as a young boy. This year, he’s launched a yearlong event and fundraising goal that he hopes the community will help him reach.
Nelson recently announced that he will donate 100 percent of 2010’s profits from his restaurant, Gregorio’s Italian Restaurant, to the Boys & Girls Club of Carlsbad. The goal is $250,000.
“People still go out to eat,” Nelson said, in reference to the drop in charitable donations due to the economy. “I just hope that they would think of kids when they’re spending money.”
The money raised at Gregorio’s will benefit the club where it currently needs it most. The club recently finished the construction of a permanent building in Bressi Ranch, but additional funds are needed to complete the interior before the facility can be used. The new building will eventually replace a doublewide trailer that has served as a “temporary” facility for more than two decades.
“That little trailer is getting shabbier and shabbier,” Pat Maldi, the club’s marketing director, said. “The whole temporary thing doesn’t work too well after 25 years.”
Although the club needs $2 million more to complete the interior, Maldi and Nelson are confident that this fundraiser could easily exceed their $250,000 goal and get the facility closer to completion.
“We’ve got to raise the money, we’ve got too many kids to serve,” Nelson said.
Once completed, the new structure will serve 300 children in a community where it currently only accommodates 50, Nelson said. It will feature everything from computer labs to a science center, a gym, dance studios and more.
The building will compliment the original club facility on Roosevelt Street, a place that Nelson knows very well. His involvement with the club started nearly 50 years ago when he attended the then Carlsbad Boys Club and he has found ways to give back ever since.
“The idea of giving to them is nothing new to me,” Nelson said. “I know what it can do to help kids.”
Those who know Nelson and his wife, Barbi, were not surprised when they were approached with the fundraising idea. Maldi said participation in the charity is a “no brainer” and that it’s “quite humbling” to see how the Nelson family gives back to the community.
“Knowing who Greg is and the support he gives them, it wasn’t that big of a shock,” restaurant manager Brandee Dunda said.
To help Gregorio’s and the Boys & Girls Club of Carlsbad reach their goal, simply grab a meal at the restaurant located at 300 Carlsbad Village Drive any time this year. For more information, visit www.gregoriosrestaurant.com.

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