Several times in a year, Aklilu hosts an etiquette class for children who otherwise wouldn’t get an opportunity to learn these skills. During this class, she serves them a four-course meal, and life lessons.
This year, she brought in more than 1,300 homeless people in white Limousines to Salute e Vita Restaurant.
The menu includes turkey, mashed potatoes, green peas, gravy, seasoned veggies, cranberry sauce, homemade stuffing, desert, and much more.
In addition to the food, she gave out free flu-shots, warm coats, clothing for children, and gift bags full of necessities.
Born and raised in Ethiopia, Aklilu lost her mother at the age of 10. She moved to the US from Italy as a homeless single mom. Her first job was working as a hostess at the same restaurant, making $7 an hour.
She worked so hard that she was promoted rapidly and soon became the manager. When the restaurant was listed for sale, she bought it with the help of generous patron. Now she uses the restaurant to touch many lives, especially young people and the less privileged.
This year with the help of donations from the community, Aklilu feeds over 1300 people.
Earlier this year, Aklilu faced a 30-day eviction notice, but the community rallied around her. The eviction notice from a politician who lost the votes of that community, said there was a raw sewage leak under her restaurant, but a city health inspector could not find any leakage.
"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.