NJ Brothers begin trek across country to support restaurant workers
Two New Jersey mixologist brothers raise the bar with a fundraising walk from the Asbury Park boardwalk on Saturday morning that won’t stop until they arrive in the Redwood Forest outside of San Francisco.
Aiden and Louis Ardine, of Middletown, NJ, have seen how the lockdowns and slow reopening caused by COVID have hurt their colleagues in the bar and restaurant industry over the past year and come up with a plan to give something back, their website explains. They dubbed the idea “Walking America”.
Aiden, 28, and Louis, 27, both avid long-distance runners with a penchant for hiking and camping, have charted a 3,147-mile route that will take them through 11 states on their way across the country. They have friends and family along the way, but they told their hometown newspaper The Two River Times that they would also rely on any strangers they meet on their journey. They estimate that they will be driving about 20 miles per day, which would make the trip about five months.
The idea started as a flippant joke on a trip to Vermont with friends, when Aiden said he’d rather go hiking than keep looking for scarce jobs at restaurants operating under restrictions. limited capacity. He spoke with his brother, and they came up with a fundraising plan for the nonprofit Food Service Workers Community Foundation. Their goal is $ 30,000, or about $ 10 per mile, the cost of an average lunch.
“We wanted to do something to benefit the restaurant workers who we believe have been left behind during this pandemic,” Aiden told Asbury Park Press. “Service workers found it impossible to get unemployment benefits or were forced to go to work every day once restaurants reopened and risked their well-being.”
They prepared for the trip by chatting with other people who have been on long hikes. Most of the trip will be on what Aiden called the “backcountry highways,” so they are rarely more than 50 miles from a town.
They plan to meet people from the culinary world when they stop for days off along the way and post the restaurants they visit on social media, Louis said.
“Personally, we just want to meet people and get a feel for how other people live in America,” Aiden said. “Sort of getting away from our little New Jersey bubble.”