Richmond restaurant and churches provide free Thanksgiving meals
on November 25, 2013
Menbere Aklilu, owner of Salute E Vita Ristorante, knows firsthand what it’s like to need a warm meal and a place to stay. She once spent Christmas at a women’s shelter in Rome when she fled an abusive boyfriend and had nowhere else to go. That’s why she cares so much about providing food for homeless people and helping them to get back on their feet.
For the third straight year, Aklilu will host a free Thanksgiving dinner for homeless people at her Italian restaurant on the Richmond waterfront. And for Salute E Vita Ristorante’s 10th anniversary, Aklilu is also rolling out a special gift to area homeless people: The restaurant will hand out coupons that are redeemable for 10 free carryout meals.
In addition to providing a four-course meal, volunteer doctors from area hospitals will provide flu shots for homeless people. “It’s great, because they are outside all the time, and they can get sick easily,” Aklilu said.
Aklilu is looking to recruit workers from Richmond’s homeless population. The restaurant has five openings for dishwashers and other entry-level positions, and she wants to hire homeless people. “I was homeless. I got a chance. Look at me now.”
Salute E Vita won’t be the only place handing out free Thanksgiving meals to Richmond’s homeless population this year. At least a half-dozen churches and shelters throughout the city will be providing meals to people who need them most. Click on the map above to see some of the places where free Thanksgiving meals will be offered this week.
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