How We Started“Chef David’s Kidz Wishgrant Foundation” Charity 1st started and opened for business in early 1989 .Up to early 1988, Chef David Mitchell had actually been extremely busy in 2 careers day-to-day in doing Security work and professional sports teams player/& sports games bodyguard & security duty during games and championships, as many of you know, and he was also an Executive Chef at some of the top-places in southern Fla., as well.
He was very good at both jobs, & loved both careers a great deal , and won awards and accolades often, but according to him, there just wasn’t something “there”. Although he had two great career it was not as rewarding to him as he had hoped.
Like SO MANY other times in his life, fate stepped in suddenly , when a college friend of Chef David’s contacted him who was married and had a daughter with cancer. Chef’s David’s friend asked him if he’d like to go to Orlando, Fla., with them for their 1st visit to “DisneyWorld” theme-park.
As they arrived at the park entrance, the 8yrs old girl gently took Chef David’s hand in hers as they walked in , (MUCH to the great surprise of her parents , who said she was usually extremely shy, and never did that!
Chef David thought it was a normal action of hers , so he responded in kind…), and it was this trip that got Chef David thinking about how huge an effect the visit seemed to have on this girl after wards when they were driving back to south Fla.,
The girls Mother mentioned to Chef David “You know, you should REALLLY consider changing work-fields, as you truly seem to have a natural gift & a real “knack” with children . Our daughter has never done that before , taking an adult’s hand in hers , even with her Aunts & Uncles..!!”.
THIS WAS CHEF DAVID”S LIFE CHANGING MOMENT
Chef David said at that point it was like a “spot-light” went on in my head , and at this moment it all became so clear to him on what he wanted and needed to do.
In mid 1988 planned to open up as a Regional , Legal Children’s Wishgrant Charity in the 12 southern states area , and he worked both careers then , 1 as an Exec. Chef as usual, and the newer job of running “Chef David’s Kidz”, also, from March the 5th of 1989 , at the same time , but by the 3rd or 4th year of being the Charity Director, he knew he’d found the career he’d always been looking for in life , (& a little thing called “word of mouth” by members parents and Doctors/Surgeons, etc., had made them a National level Children’s Charity by then, with members in all 50 states … !) - with immense rewards and benefits from being able to help these children and their families out, based upon his own cancer/surgery experiences since childhood, and when the restaurant he was the Executive Chef at and Sunday Brunch Gen. Mgr. sustained very bad water and hurricane damage to the roof and 2 walls in 1999, & had to close down , as he says now , ” I realized then that this was very likely another “Fate caused event” in life, and decided to retire as an Executive Chef at that time, in 1999, and devote my full-time energy and then some to the Foundation & it’s “Kidz” and work, and have NEVER once regretted that decision since then , in fact , I’m extremely happy that I made the choice I did , as I am 1 of the very lucky few adults in life who seems to have found out the reason why I am here , on earth, as it is the best career that I’ve ever had in my life…”, and that is what created and then started our Foundation work and efforts, and while in 1999 we had a little over 1,500 members at that time , well, now it’s 2011, and we have 8, 600 plus members now, and we also support/& donate to 44 to 45 different NACH Children’s Hospitals and Peds. Shelters & orgs. across the U.S.A., from literally San Diego , Calif., to the NE corner of Maine , and EVERYWHERE in-between , as well…., all started out of the house Chef David Mitchell lived in , in Wilton Manors, Fla., (a suburb of Ft. Laud., Fla.) as an idea in March of 1988 for the 1st year trial-run , then officially on March the 5th, 1989…!
HOW WE CREATED OUR NAME AND TITLE OF OUR FOUNDATION
…..This is actually 1 of the best stories about our Charity that people have told us they loved learning about, after they hear it. When Chef David was working on the very 1st year or 2 of his Foundation & it’s goals and mission – statement , etc., he was still an Executive Chef and Gen. Mgr. at a famous Restaurant here in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. , & it was extremely busy and very crowded , especially on weekends, also. A very important fact is that it was at this time-frame that “Chef David’s Kidz” got 1 of their very 1st referrals and requests for a membership for a 7yrs old little girl who was a VICAAP Victim of Violent Crime Act from a Federal Law Enforcement Agency, as she’d survived a murder attempt by her own parents on her , & 1 of the actual “Wishes” she’d made to Chef David when they met was to be able to come in and “help him be a Chef where you work…”, she said, which absolutely floored our Director, he says , & of course he was going to do everything in his power to grant her this wish, and many others. (We’re proud to say she is STILL a beautiful V.I.P. Teenage girl member right now, in 2011…!). Well , she was finally released from 3 months in the hospital , right on time to come in and assist Chef David at a VERY special “Mothers Day Sunday Brunch” event the restaurant was holding that Sunday , and as the little girl , her best friend and Father entered the front-doors area together to come in, (everybody on duty that day knew who she was , naturally, and treated her like she was literal royalty!), and 1 of the 2 Mgrs. at the front reception area looked at the other and quietly said, “Isn’t that 1 of Chef David’s “Kids” we’re waiting on…..??”Well, unknown to the Mgr., Chef David was working on a sauce about 10 feet away in a service-area from her desk , and heard what she said, and said “…I don’t know, we’d yet to choose a title I liked to that point, and when I heard this, YES, she was 1 of our “Kids”, of course, but what IF we were to switch the “s” on the end to a “z” to indicate membership & that it’s a child who belongs to our Charity Foundation , etc., & were to call it then “Chef David’s Kidz Wishgrant Foundation” Charity…???” It sounded great to me and to others, it was easy to remember, it made our members feel more special and V.I.P., SO, why NOT, actually….???? BINGO, a working title had been found , and Chef David never tries to be a person who “punches a gift-horse in the mouth” in life, and it just seemed to work, so 3 weeks later, after speaking with their attorneys and legal dept., the name was made official, and the rest is history! The main difference to Chef David with our title is that normal, healthy children are “kids”, who he loves as well as our own members, naturally, but our members, to us, are our “Kidz” , with a “z” on the end , which makes them all that much more special to us…!