Salute’s owner Menbere Aklilu donates $5,000 to Family Justice Center

Salute's owner Menbere Aklilu donates $5,000 to Family Justice Center
Photo: Salute e Vita Ristorante

The West County Family Justice Center received a $5,000 donation to bolster its programs that assist abused women and their families thanks to yet another generous contribution by Menbere Aklilu, owner of Salute E Vita Ristorante at 1900 Esplanade Drive in Richmond.

In honor of International Women’s Day, Aklilu donated 15-percent of all restaurant sales last Thursday — amounting to $5,000 — to the Family Justice Center at 256 24th St., a one-stop shop for services.

It was Aklilu’s latest contribution to the Family Justice Center. At the grand opening for its new Richmond center in 2015, the restaurateur and Jefferson Award winner for community and public volunteerism surprised the center with her largest contribution: a $15,000 check.

Aklilu is famous in the community for her charity works. Born in Ethiopia and raised in Italy, she is a domestic abuse survivor and once a homeless single mother. After making her way to America, she started as a host at Salute and worked her way up the ranks to become the restaurant’s owner.

Her background is one of the reasons Aklilu targets contributions to the the Family Justice Center, which last year served over 1,000 families and launched an elder abuse prevention program.