A public gala will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23 at Salute e Vita Ristorante, 1900 Esplanade Dr. in the Marina Bay area in Richmond to kick off a new charity being created by restaurant owner Menbere “Menbe” Aklilu.
Aklilu has already received recognition for holding free annual Thanksgiving feasts for veterans and others in need at the waterfront restaurant and the launch party on Sunday will benefit the new Menbe’s Way Fund.
Entertainment will be by Oakland-based jazz quintet the Clifton Street Regulars and several wineries will offer tastings, according to an announcement.
“Donations to support this year’s Thanksgiving meals are optional but greatly appreciated, and there will be a small silent auction at the event.”
Akilu has provided more than 3,000 free, Thanksgiving meals over the past four years and hosts free etiquette courses on manners and life skills for young people at the restaurant.
“She also donates to the Richmond Rescue Shelter, sponsors girls who attend Northern Lights School, and contributes to Delta Academy, which educates underprivileged boys and girls,” notes the event announcement.
The Menbe’s Way Fund will be managed by the nonprofit Richmond Community Foundation and will support current efforts in the community as well as new programs.
“Aklilu has suffered unspeakable hardships in her life, including witnessing the murder of her mother in Ethiopia, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and giving birth to her son in a homeless shelter.
“Today this remarkable woman is an inspirational community leader in the East Bay. Earlier this year, she was honored with the prestigious Jefferson Award for her outstanding achievements in public service.
“The Menbe’s Way Fund launch party is one of several events being held this year to raise funds for Thanksgiving meals and other programs. For more information, please call (510) 215-0803.”