Vito's Raising Money For Earthquake Relief
Vito's Ristorante and Pizzeria in Southern Pines has started a fundraiser to help those affected by the earthquake in Italy earlier this month.
Vito Gironda, who owns the restaurant, is originally from Italy.
His mother lives about 360 miles south of Rome and was unaffected by the earthquake. The Abruzzo region, which was hit the hardest, is to the east of Rome.
The people of L'Aquila, a city in the Abruzzo region, lost their homes and jobs as well as friends and relatives in a devastating earthquake. Since then, the media have moved on and focused on other events. But for residents of that region, the problems are far from over, Gironda said.
"In the week it happens, the victims get a lot of attention," he said. "But then the media move on, and these folks are forgotten. These people are still living in tents. They've lost their houses. It's an awful situation."
Gironda is starting a fund to help the victims. He's placing a donation container at his restaurant, and he and his brothers will match the amount raised by their customers.
They will send the money to the Italian American Museum in New York, which has started the I.A.M. Earthquake Relief Fund 2009.
"The Italian community in the rest of the U.S. is trying to do their part to help these people," Gironda said.
Local residents can send checks made out to Vito's-Earthquake Fund at 615 SE Broad St., Southern Pines.
There is a donation box on the counter at the restaurant. Gironda said donations of any amount are appreciated. The restaurant will be collecting money for about a month.
"Whatever you can put in, it's something," Gironda said.
The earthquake, which had a magnitude of 6.3, struck in the early morning hours April 6. Since then, the area has been hit by a number of aftershocks, causing further damages to buildings.
In all, 295 people have been killed, of whom at least 16 were children. Some 20,000 people are living in tents.
A state funeral for 205 victims was held April 10 at a military parade ground. The funeral attracted thousands of mourners.
The earthquake also took a severe toll on the architecture of L'Aquila, including some historic churches and castles and centuries-old monuments and buildings.
L'Aquila, which translates to "eagle," is a medieval city founded in the 13th century. It is walled, with narrow streets and a population of 70,000 residents.
But Gironda said the main concern for now is the displaced residents of the city.
Contact Laura Eddy by e-mail at email@example.com.
More like this story