VIDEO: Free 5-star meal feeds less fortunate in East Bay

RICHMOND (KRON)—A 6-year-tradition of helping those less fortunate in the East Bay continues this Thanksgiving holiday.

It comes in the form of a 5-star meal at a beautiful restaurant in Richmond’s Marina Bay.

As KRON4’s Haaziq Madyun shows us, the first class treatment starts with a ride to the restaurant.

When you see limousines arriving with members of Richmond’s homeless community, you know you are witnessing another first class thanksgiving for everyone here at Salute e Vita restaurant in Marina Bay

“It means a lot to me because we wouldn’t have a place to go if it wasn’t for this woman,” one woman who came to the event said.

The woman she is referring to is the owner of Salute, Menbere Aklilu, an Ethiopian immigrant who opened the doors to her restaurant and fed 300 homeless people back in 2010.

“No, I never imagined because I brought 300 people my first year, I thought that was good, but every year I got more request and more request, especially this year,” said restaurant owner Menbere Akililu.

This year with the help of donations from the community salute will feed over 1300 people another 5-star thanksgiving meal

Volunteers include past and present city leaders from the city of Richmond.

“I had to come back to Richmond because it still feels like home,” said former Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus.

Richmond Mayor Tom Butt says it feels like home because of the generosity the restaurant’s owner.

“You know Membere, she really is the heart of this community,” Butt said.

The owner of Salute has an additional reason to celebrate this Thanksgiving as she was able avoid the restaurant being evicted from this location earlier this year.

“Exactly this year is the most important for me because I was worried, because of the eviction, I will be homeless again but thanks to the community I will be here for a long time,” Membere said.

In addition to Thanksgiving dinner, folks here received free flu-shots, warm coats, clothing for children and gift bags full of necessities.

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