Salute owner announces expansion of Mother’s Day charity event

Richmond eatery to donate 15-percent of Thursday's sales to Family Justice Center
Menbere Aklilu, owner of Salute e Vita Ristorante in Marina Bay (photo courtesy of Salute's)

Hundreds of moms in both Richmond and also Oakland’s UCSF Benioff Children ‘s Hospital will be pampered Mother’s Day weekend courtesy of Menbere Aklilu, owner of Salute e Vita Ristorante in Marina Bay.

Aklilu, a well-known local restaurateur, philanthropist and domestic violence survivor, has announced an expanded version for her 5th annual Mother’s Day Brunch event that includes free fine-dining experiences at her restaurant at 1900 Esplanade Drive and also at the Oakland children’s hospital, where she plans to transform the cafeteria into an elegant dining room.

At her restaurant on Friday, May 12, she is set to hold her usual brunch and pampering event for nearly 75 moms from Richmond’s public housing complexes and women’s support organizations. The moms will enjoy a 4-course fine-dining meal served by volunteer mothers from the community, with specialty deserts donated by Galaxy Desserts (an Oprah Winfrey favorite). Each mom will receive a special gift, organizers said.

But this year there will be additional events.

On Thursday, May 11, Aklilu is putting on a special day of pampering for Barbara Harris and her family. Harris is the mother of Rashanda Franklin, who was murdered in front of her children in Richmond during a domestic violence incident April 4. The killing deeply affected Aklilu, who witnessed her mother being fatally shot at age 10.

For that reason, the day before the Mother’s Day Brunch, Aklilu has arranged for Harris, her four sisters and Rashanda’s younger sister to be treated to a Pamper Day. They will receive beauty treatments by Richmond-based salon “Beauty By Nature”, owned by Wyvonne Brown. And then for the Mother’s Day Brunch, the women will be driven in a limousine courtesy of Michael Davenport Transportation.

But that’s not the end of the charitable Mother’s Day events this year for Aklilu.

At 10 a.m. Saturday, May 13, Aklilu will head over to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, where she will transform the hospital cafeteria into an elegant dining room in order to serve more than 150 mothers who spend time with their children at the hospital “day in and day out,” she said. A fleet of community volunteers will help serve them.

“I want to give them one great meal with love to celebrate Mother’s Day,” Aklilu said in a statement, adding she will also donate $20,000 to the hospital.

The 5th annual Mother’s Day event is being called “Yes, you are worthy.”