Walk for food: New Jersey brothers traveling on foot across the country to help restaurant workers include a crossing from Pittsburgh
Aiden and Louis Ardine walk an average of 40 km per day.
They plan to arrive at their destination in five months.
Yes. Five. Month.
The Red Bank Brothers, NJ make a trip of over 3,000 miles across the United States. What fuels their journey is food – literally and figuratively.
On May 1, they began putting one foot in front of the other to raise awareness and fundraise for restaurant workers whose lives have been affected by the pandemic.
Their route started at the beach in Asbury Park, New Jersey, and is expected to end at the edge of the Redwood National Forest outside of San Francisco, California.
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop | Tribune review
Louis (left) and Aiden Ardine of Red Bank, NJ pose for a photo on the Pittsburgh North Shore on Friday.
They will cross eleven states, including Pennsylvania. The brothers arrived in Pittsburgh on Thursday evening. They attended the Bloomfield Saturday Market and plan to speak to employees at local restaurants to learn more about the effects of the pandemic in Pittsburgh.
“We know we can do it,” Aiden Ardine said, as he sat outside PNC Park on the north side with his girlfriend Hope Roselle and brother on Friday. “Some people take it for granted that they can just call a restaurant and get whatever food they want prepared for them. This pandemic was unexpected. And there is no playbook on how to get out of it. Restaurants are just trying to survive. We have to help them. “
Their goal is to raise $ 30,000, which they say works out to about $ 10 per mile – the average cost of lunch for most Americans – for the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to helping those who work in the service sector.
They raised $ 20,000.
“We have had countless volunteer restaurateurs who have gone to great lengths to support our mission over the past three years, but the Ardine brothers are literally walking towards a better future for everyone in our community, and we are grateful for all the people they meet who help them achieve their goal, ”said Kiki Louya, executive director of the foundation via email.
People can donate here.
Aiden Ardine, 28, was a bartender and manager, and Louis Ardine, 27, was a bar at the Bond Street Bar in Asbury Park. They were laid off in 2020. At the end of last year, with the increase in covid-19 cases, they did not return to their jobs and found work in landscaping and snow removal and in A coffee.
“Service workers found it impossible to get unemployment benefits, or were forced to go to work every day, risking their health, once restaurants began to reopen,” said Aiden Ardine. “The food industry is a resilient industry. Despite their efforts, we know that some restaurants did not survive the pandemic. We want to make sure that others don’t have to shut down permanently. “
The brothers pay their own expenses, camp some nights, stay with friends and family, and sometimes sleep in hotels.
On Tuesday, they will head to Ohio, then Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, where their sister Audrey lives, Utah, Nevada and California. Their sister, Audrey lives in Denver, Colorado.
The idea to do so came in December when they drove with their father to see his mother, Alice, who was critically ill in California. Aiden Ardine asked his brother to cross the country to raise money for the restaurant workers. Louis Ardine said he would if his brother wrote a book about it. Louis Ardine is an artist and can provide illustrations. They document the trip on Instagram and on this website.
Plot the course
Aiden Ardine plotted the course via GPS. They also ask people they’ve encountered for shortcuts. Brothers Paul and Mark Shots they met between Fort Littleton and Breezewood gave them a better route and also water.
“As we walk, people gravitate around us,” said Aiden Ardine. “They ask what we are doing. We met some pretty amazing people.
“We meet people and the next day they sometimes drive by and still see us walking and they beeping us,” said Louis Ardine. “Sometimes we walk the same road for several days, so sometimes we see the same people and they recognize us. It’s really cool.”
Their conversations include everything from their goals for this project to how to be better people. They had their moments but for the most part got along, they said.
They wear bright backpacks and wear bright colors. They did not walk at night but plan to do so once they reach the desert. The food includes nutritional supplements, instant coffee, peanut butter sandwiches, plenty of water, and sometimes a Dr. Pepper. They try to have a hot meal every other day.
Courtesy of Aiden and Louis Ardine
Aiden (left) and Louis Ardine of Red Bank, NJ experienced rainy weather as they crossed the United States to raise money for restaurant workers.
They’ve found themselves in the middle of a few thunderstorms and anticipate humid temperatures as they head west.
“Cars are our greatest danger,” said Louis Ardine.
They were on an 11 day stretch before Pittsburgh.
The brothers said they were lucky because they had savings. Aiden Ardine moved in with their father and Louis Ardine lives with their mother, Robin Gunn.
Roselle, 26, met the brothers in Pittsburgh for support. She and Aiden Ardine met while working in a restaurant.
“It’s something that he and his brother wanted to do,” she says. “It’s important. It’s a unique opportunity. Every step makes a difference.”