AVALON (KDKA) — A local police officer is taking his family’s traditional pasta sauce, and bringing it to the masses. And it’s all for a good cause.
Officer Leo di Cesare works for the Avalon Borough Police. Two years ago, a dear friend was diagnosed with Leukemia. Di Cesare decided to cater a luncheon to help raise money. His family’s sauce recipe was a big hit.
“My parents came here from Italy in 1972, and this sauce is a recipe that has been in our family for a century,” says di Cesare. “Leo’s family made the sauce, we got the sauce distributed and everybody wanted more of it,” says Chief Tom Kokoski, of the Avalon Borough Police. “So we had a… talk and decided to go into business together.”
That’s how Leo’s Sunday Sauce was born – named after those weekend family gatherings. It’s made in Braddock Hills.
The family is still giving back to charity. They do all kinds of fundraisers, and they recently started a new project.
“We’ve aligned with Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital, in which every month we donate the proceeds from our sales,” says di Cesare.
The project’s mission has caught the attention of people across the country, including celebrities like Brad Pitt. He recently “liked” one of the company’s posts on social media.
Leo’s Sunday Sauce is available locally in several specialty grocery stores, including: McGinnis Sisters in Brentwood, T-Bones Marketplace in Wexford, Produce Plus in Bellevue, Cibrone and Sons Bakery in Castle Shannon and Good Loven Bakery in Ross Township.
“The sauce is doing very well,” says Dana Shaffer, the manager of T-Bones Marketplace. “Every time that [di Cesare] does a demo, he attracts more and more customers. They love it, and they come back and look for it again.”
The di Cesare family says, they’re not done yet. They recently added fresh pasta and ravioli to their product line, and hope to continue to grow so they can help more people in need.
“Keeping the purpose in your heart, that’s what keeps the drive going,” says di Cesare.