After hard times, restaurant owner warms hearts in Richmond with love

Menbere Aklilu has come a long way. From a struggling single mother, she is now a restaurant owner in Richmond, after moving from her native Ethiopia and a time in Italy.

Aklilu hosts an annual Thanksgiving dinner at her restaurant, Salute E Vita, where she just served a sit-down dinner for more than a thousand Bay Area homeless people. She has also begun holding a four-course Mother’s Day brunch for young single mothers. She helps Richmond and Oakland students pay school tuition.

Thanksgiving comes early for Richmond seniors

About 60 senior citizens attended this year’s Richmond Annex Senior Center’s Thanksgiving lunch. Richmond Fire Department fire fighters helped serve the food, prepared by students of Contra Costa College’s Culinary Arts Department.

Richmond YMCA toy giveaway founded by firefighter

Richmond firefighter Rod Woods started the annual Toy Giveaway 27 years ago, when he was first hired. “I told the Lord I would give back,” Woods said. This was his way of giving back. Woods was seven years old when his own family was in need during the holidays. “Somebody knocked on the front door of our house and ran,” Woods said. “They left gifts and food for our family.” And it’s this memory that made him want to give…

Shields Nursing Center warms up hearts with free coats

At around nine on a chilly Saturday morning a line of nearly 300 people wrapped around the corner of Cutting and 20th Street as they giddily waited for a Christmas present that would keep them warm. Shields Nursing Center was turned into a winter wonderland as community members and staff gave out 200 free coats and candy canes to Richmond youth during their annual Warm Coat Giveaway. The event started at noon and by 2pm every child in line had…