Menbere Aklilu, owner of Richmond’s Salute E Vita Ristorante, donated more than $13,000 to victims of Hurricane Harvey last week.
Aklilu and her restaurant staff presented a check to Mayor Tom Butt on September 11, which will be given to the American Red Cross’ Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts to help victims recover. The check contains the total sales on Friday, September 8, and parts of servers’ tips.
“It’s her way of giving back to the American people for everything this country has done for her,” said Jamie Dooley, a supervisor at Salute E Vita who works closely with Aklilu on philanthropy projects and events.
Aklilu was born in Ethiopia and raised in Italy, but America has given her so many opportunities, said Dooley. “She knew what it’s like to be without a home and to live in a shelter with no possession at all, and she needed to do something to help these people.”
The gift was made in names of Richmond community. “The donation was Menbe’s decision, but clearly the community supported her,” Butt said.