The closure of Salute e Vita Ristorante in Marina Bay has not stopped charitable restaurateur Menbere Aklilu from wanting to continue her Thanksgiving tradition of feeding the homeless and underserved.
On Thursday, Nov. 22, Aklilu is set to host her 8th annual “Day of Giving Thanks” — this time at the Great Richmond Interfaith Program’s (GRIP) soup kitchen at 165 22nd Ave.
Once again, the community’s leaders, including Richmond Mayor Tom Butt, Police Chief Allwyn Brown and other local dignitaries, will join former members of the Salute team in volunteering in this Richmond tradition.
Close to 800 guests are expected to be served at GRIP starting at 11:30 a.m.
Per usual, other local businesses are contributing to the effort.
“Keeping with the tradition of treating everyone with dignity and respect, guests will be sat at tables set with lovely dinnerware on white tablecloths generously donated by Standard Party Rentals,” organizers said. “Guests will be served a delicious Thanksgiving meal with turkey and all the fixings donated by Richmond Wholesale as well as dessert provided by Galaxy Desserts.”
Guests will also be able to receive free flu shot and leave with a goody bag filled with personal care items. They will also have the opportunity to select a coat, all of which have been made available through generous donations from the community.
Aklilu has served thousands of people over the last seven years at Salute e Vita Ristorante, an upscale restaurant which was located at 1900 Esplanade Ave. in Marina Bay. Aklilu decided to close the restaurant last summer due to a longterm dispute with her landlord. The Ethopian immigrant and domestic violence survivor had used her successful restaurant as a platform for good in the community, with Aklilu hosting events and charity drives benefiting other domestic violence victims, low-income mothers, the homeless, veterans and more. She is a recipient of the prestigious Jefferson Award, the Contra Costa Commission for Women’s Hall of Fame Award, The East Bay Philanthropy Award, the California Small Business Award, and the Humanitarian Award from the Multi-Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame, as well as an Honorary Doctorate from Holy Names University.
To learn more about the Menbe’s Way Fund, visit www.menbesway.org.