Apr 29, 2016
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Seventy-five local single moms are going to be showered with love and appreciation in honor of Mother’s Day.

On Saturday, May 7, low-income mothers will receive free beauty treatments before being chauffeured in limousines to an elegant, four-course Mother’s Day luncheon at Saluté e Vita Ristorante in Richmond’s Marina Bay neighborhood, it was announced Thursday.

Saluté’s charitable owner Menbe Aklilu (pictured), who herself was once a struggling single mom who had fled an abusive relationship, is putting on this annual event for a second straight year. This year’s event will have three times the number of moms attending. The event is titled “Yes, You Are Worthy” and the guest of honor will be Sandra Vegas, widow of veteran Richmond police Officer Gus Vegas, who was tragically killed in their Vallejo home in February.

This year’s event starts bright and early, with Aklilu sending limos to transport the women to various salons around town for complimentary makeovers, including Beauty By Nature in Point Richmond. Don’t worry about the kids — Aklilu is also providing free babysitting services.

After their beauty treatments, the moms will be driven to Saluté, 1900 Esplanade Drive, for their meal. Well-known Point Richmond psychiatrist and spiritual speaker “Dr. Bob” Larsen will deliver an inspirational talk about overcoming adversity during the luncheon.

After the meal, each guest will receive a special surprise gift before being chauffeured back home to their children.

Aklilu is again working with Kathleen Sullivan, resident services coordinator at the community housing development Pullman Point, to identify low-income single moms who could use some pampering.

This event is one of several community empowerment programs supported by Menbe’s Way Fund, managed by the nonprofit Richmond Community Foundation. Menbe’s Way also sponsors the massive annual free Thanksgiving Feast for the needy at Saluté, which has served nearly 4,000 free Thanksgiving meals.

Aklilu’s past is both heartbreaking and inspiring. She witnessed the murder of her mother in Ethiopia, fled sexual abuse and domestic violence and gave birth to her son in a homeless shelter. She says it took one person to believe in her in order to find peace and prosperity in her life. Now, Aklilu is a well-known community advocate and leader, having been inducted earlier this year into the Contra Costa Women’s Hall of Fame. In 2015, she received the prestigious Jefferson Award for her public service.

For more information or to donate to Menbe’s Way Fund, please call (510) 215-0803 or visit Salutemarinabay.com.


About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.