ALPINE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A restaurant owner in Comstock Park and founder of the nonprofit Food Hugs is shifting gears this summer with how she is helping people.
Jenna Arcidiacono, the owner of Amore Trattoria Italiana, started the nonprofit in 2020 by giving food and money to frontline workers and families. Through crowdfunding, she has given out more than $52,000 to local restaurants and restaurant workers through an effort she named “Tip Back Thursday.”
This summer, she began giving people a way to get around town.
“I’m pretty speechless still honestly I don’t really ever have big things like that or nice things like that happen to me,” Joseph Langerak said.
Langerak, a 25-year-old who works two jobs, is the latest recipient of Arcidiacono’s acts of kindness.
Last month he began struggling after his car broke down and the transmission went out. He depended on his girlfriend and other friends for rides around town and to work. He also started using Uber but once he ran out of money, he began riding a bicycle. After he explained his situation to a coworker, a phone call was made to Arcidiacono for help.
“I knew that Food Hugs and Jenna have been doing things in the community for awhile now,” Gabriel Silva said.
With donations from people on social media and her customers, she was able to surprise one woman earlier this summer with a car, and now Langarek, who has become the owner of a 2005 Toyota Camry.
“It was overwhelming not something I expected to have happen at all but something I really needed, something I really appreciate,” Langarek said, adding that he plans to pay it forward somehow.
As for Jenna, she’s ready to get the community involved in another master plan.
“The whole reason I started the nonprofit was in order to help people, bring smiles and just bring someone a brighter day,” Arcidiacono said. “…You never know where I’m going to strike next.”
“If you can’t donate, it’s always fun to share. There’s always someone watching it that’s willing to donate. I do $5 raffles for dinner at Amore once a month so people can keep an eye out for that,” she said.