Monday, May 20, 2024

Food for Free chief executive Sasha Purpura speaks Saturday at Viale during fundraiser. (Photo: Tyler Motes)

The nonprofit Food for Free fundraised Saturday at Viale, an Italian restaurant with a New England flair in Central Square. The restaurant, run by chef Greg Reeves, donated 100 percent of food sales from the sold-out brunch; staff donated their time.

Food for Free chief executive Sasha Purpura gave a passionate account of the struggles faced during the height of the pandemic, and a personal story of stopping by Viale on a round of food pickups on a night she was exhausted. Shauna Reyburn, the restaurant’s co-owner, offered her a table, breaking out plates, silverware and, most importantly, a calming glass of wine. It was a reminder of how important a simple meal and conversation could be, Purpura said, especially to some of the people Food for Free helps – many of whom had no contact with people during lockdown except for food delivery day, when a wave from a delivery driver became a lifeline.

Viale’s tables sold out for the fundraiser. (Photo: Motes)

Food for free rescues nearly 2 million pounds of food a year. Donations of checks payable to Food For Free can be mailed to: Food For Free, 11 Inman St., Cambridge, MA 02139.

If you appreciate what restaurants such as Viale do, especially during the pandemic when most are struggling, stop by to enjoy the menu at 502 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square.

This post was updated Nov. 22, 2022, to correct that Shauna Reyburn is Viale’s co-owner.

Food for Free T-shirts were available Saturday. (Photo: Tyler Motes)

Purpura with Shauna Reyburn, the front-of-house manager at Viale, on Saturday. (Photo: Tyler Motes)