Jun 14, 2016


June 22, 2016   |   By Mike Raven

2When the apartment building where Erick Montesinos and his family lived burned down last spring, he, his wife Dheysi, and their children Erick, Jr. and Kelly, lost everything.

Montesinos is a member of the kitchen team at the InterContinental Buckhead in Atlanta, and the hotel arranged to set up a Go Fund Me account to help the family replace their losses. But Director of Human Resources Christopher Fullagar and former Food & Beverage Director Jason Deville knew of another resource: They contacted CORE.

Children of Restaurant Employees (CORE) is a nonprofit organization that supports the children and families of food and beverage employees who are navigating a life-altering circumstance or condition. Founded in 2004 by a handful of operators and suppliers looking for a way to give back to their own, the organization has supported over 120 children across the country since inception.

One of the CORE founders is IMI Agency, the beverage-marketing agency that manages the World Class Beverage Program. IMI took the fledgling charity under its wing, providing staffing and offices for CORE’s first few years until the organization became established.

A generous donation from CORE helped the Montesinos family get back on their feet. “We met Erick and his family at a shopping mall near the hotel and spent almost three hours getting the items they needed – clothes, formula, diapers, books, school supplies, toys, a TV and some furniture,” says Fullagar. “Erick’s son, who is six, got a bike. We filled up seven shopping baskets and one flatbed cart. It was like Christmas in May.”

“We learn about need situations through grassroots communications from restaurants and hotels,” says Lauren LaViola, Executive Director of CORE. “Our Board evaluates the requests on a case-by-case basis. Support can range from assisting a family with a child who has a chronic condition like Down Syndrome, or a life-threatening illness such as cancer, to providing support for the young children of a restaurant employee who dies or is disabled, or helping out in emergency or life-altering situations, as with the Montesinos. We’ve been able to help hundreds of children and families since we started.”

1Fundraising for CORE is primarily through a membership program for corporations in the hospitality industry, together with a host of other charity events throughout each year and individual donations.

“Our communications effort is largely through word-of-mouth and social media,” says LaViola. “We urge General Managers, F&B Directors and Restaurant Managers to become ambassadors of our mission and help spread the word among their colleagues in the supplier, hotel, restaurant and bar communities, so that we can continue to give back to our own.”

To learn more about CORE, become a supporting member, or refer a child or family, visit