NAWILIWILI — Bobby Valenti of Bobby V’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria stopped off with a $10,000 check for the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank Tuesday while during his shopping errands in Lihu‘e.
“We’re open,” Valenti said. “We opened Monday night with our full menu following the same hours (4 to 7 p.m.) as the Bobby V’s drive-thru Friday evening.”
The $10,000 contribution was a result of the Friday drive-thru that served as a fundraiser for the KIFB, where a line of cars waited for their respective orders of pizza or spaghetti and meatball servings.
“We were closed for the COVID-19 public-health emergency,” Valenti said. “Friday was the first time we opened, and the crew was a little rusty. But after 10 minutes, they shook off the rust and were fine.”
Valenti said a lot of the Friday customers were regulars from before the crisis.
“They ordered four, maybe five orders, playing it forward and sharing with other members of their neighborhood and first responders,” Valenti said. “I want this to be a challenge to other restaurants to do the same.”
Customer orders that included separate contributions to the KIFB amounted to $5,000. Bobby V’s matched the amount to make the total contribution more than $10,000.
“We’ve been here for 11 years,” Valenti said. “Without the support of the community through these years, we wouldn’t be here. This is just something we can do to give back to the community.”
Cyndi Ayonon, KIFB board vice president, said she and Kelvin Moniz, KIFB executive director, were helping the Valenti family during the event, where orders were being jockeyed between the kitchen and the pickup station at the Coconut Marketplace in Waipouli.
“I just wanted to show my kids that it’s much better to give,” Valenti said. “We’re open, but not for lunch. We have two staff back to work instead of the 11. We’re still hurting, but we’re open.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.