A lot of big names from Silicon Valley and elsewhere in the state are betting on the idea, "If you build it, they will come," by putting salad bars in schools as a way to entice kids to eat more fruits and vegetables.

"Healthy minds learn better when they are fueled by healthy bodies. If kids have healthy choices, they actually eat them," said Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino.

Guardino joined State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and other officials last week at Fremont's Walters Junior High School for the opening of the first of 60 planned salad bars.

You might remember that the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation teamed up with Lam Research to launch the inaugural Heart & Soles 5K at Hellyer Park in February, with nearly 900 people participating.

Thanks to those runners and a partnership among the South Bay Labor Council, the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Santa Clara County Office of Education, enough was raised to purchase 60 salad bars at a cost of $2,625 each that will be placed in Alameda, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.

GOLDEN BELL SHINES: If you've ever wondered if all these private school auctions provide anything more substantial than a good meal and a fun night, look no further than Dr. Tin Ngo.

The graduate of Bellarmine's Class of 1996 spoke to the 700-plus guests at the 38th Golden Bell Auction, the boys Catholic school's annual fundraiser for financial aid held on its San Jose campus March 29. Ngo was a financial-aid recipient when he went to Bellarmine after arriving in the Bay Area with his family from Vietnam.

He went on to Yale University and Wake Forest medical school before completing his residency at Stanford. He's now a specialist in robotic urologic surgery and urologic oncology.

And I've heard similar stories shared at events for other schools -- public and private -- as well as foundations and scholarship funds. It all makes a difference for someone.

HAPPY MEAL: A jubilant crowd of more than 200 people spent a good part of their Saturday at Campo di Bocce in Los Gatos for the 12th annual Spring Lamb Barbecue and Bocce Tournament to benefit Ronald McDonald House at Stanford.

Co-chairs Katherine Filice and Steve Giachetti announced that the event has raised nearly $1 million for Ronald McDonald House since its inception. They also presented emcee Lissa Kreisler, co-host of KBAY's morning show, with a framed memento that was signed by guests at the house, where families can stay while their kids are receiving treatment at nearby hospitals.

Kreisler, who has hosted the event for 10 of its 12 years, said, "That is the most special thing. You have no idea how much this touches my heart."

Contact Sal Pizarro at spizarro@mercurynews.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/spizarro.