Alumni Spotlight: Carmelo Rago Jr.

Q&A by Michelle Okere, Chief Executive Officer

Sorrentino’s Restaurant Group has been involved with Compassion House Foundation since the beginning—so much so that our main service, Sorrentino’s Compassion House, is named in recognition of the leadership support of the Rago and Saccomanno families and their Sorrentino’s Restaurant Group of companies. 
 
Now, former board member Carmelo Rago Jr. is carrying on his family’s legacy. In our Q&A, he tells us how he wants to continue the wonderful work of those who came before him in his family and hopefully inspire more people his age to get involved in our community.
 
We know that Sorrentino’s Restaurant Group has been involved with Compassion House Foundation from the very beginning, but when and how did you first get involved? 
 
I was asked to join the Board of Directors in 2014. It’s difficult to grow up and not be touched by cancer in some way. Unfortunately, I know many who have lost their battle with cancer and happily, some survivors.
 
As a member of the next generation in my family, I wanted to offer my support to continue the wonderful work of those who came before me and hopefully inspire more people my age to get involved in our community.
 
I believe that being part of any volunteer organization is a privilege and when you’re presented with an opportunity to help someone in need, you should do so.  
 
What milestones or accomplishments (with Sorrentino’s Compassion House) have made you most proud?
 
Without question the entire journey has been a proud one for our family. From nurturing an “idea” to seeing the expansion of Sorrentino’s Compassion House, I have many years of cherished memories.  If I had to choose a moment, I would say that the completion of the first phase of Sorrentino’s Compassion House was most memorable.  Being part of something from the very beginning and seeing plans come to fruition provides a true sense of satisfaction.
 
The staff and various board members who have served and continue to serve Compassion House Foundation have always had the best interest of the house in mind. We have always been proud and feel privileged to be associated with such passionate people.
 
We know community has always been important to you and your family. Now, more than ever, community wants to support local. How are you managing through COVID-19 and how can people support your restaurants through this pandemic?
 
In over forty years of business, you go through many ups and downs, but nothing has crossed our paths like this.  The only consolation, if there is one, is that we are not alone.  So, we are coping like everyone else, in trying to make the best decisions for our family, team members and business as we deal with the unknown. We are literally taking it one day at a time. 
 
We are very thankful and proud of our government, both federal and provincial, for their assistance.  Nothing is perfect, but we are ALL navigating uncertain times.
 
We are now opening one location at a time. Currently four locations are open with limited seating and of course pick-up and delivery through Skip the Dishes and Uber Eats. Our Cooking Classes will resume June 4th.
 
We thank everyone for their calls and emails to see how we are doing… it is very much appreciated. To stay up to date with what we are doing, please join our mailing list through sorrentinos.com. We have missed our guests tremendously and welcome them back under our new normal.

  • Carmelo Rago Jr.