Bruno and Tiffany Silva are keeping busy despite the fact their longtime business, The Landing Restaurant, is not currently open to in-person dining. They are offering takeout and delivery and working through their Landing Love Project to feed those need. The number of meals they and their staff prepare has more than quadrupled since they started the project in March.
The Silvas were were feeding 66 families at the end of March through The Landing Love Project. Today that number is now at least 300. Volunteers are delivering three meals a week to each person, one on Friday and two on Sundays.
“We were at 380 at one point and then it went back down,” Tiffany Silva said. “So, it can vary from week to week. A lot of people don’t realize there is this need in their backyard.”
The Silvas announced last week they received a $100,000 matching gift donation from David and Michelle Baldacci to expand on the hot meals dinner delivery service to local at-risk families and seniors throughout the greater Smith Mountain Lake region and surrounding counties.
“The Landing Love Project is humbled by this generous financial contribution from the Baldaccis as it will go a long way in supporting our mission,” Bruno Silva said. “We recently reached another milestone by delivering over 35,000 meals to those in need within our community. This is the most important thing we have ever done, and The Landing Love Project is a part of us now, and we have no plans to stop feeding those in need within our community.”
The Silvas are spending approximately $5,000 a week on food to feed those in need. To meet the needs long term, The Landing Love Project has become a nonprofit.
“Our goal is to open a center so we can do this,” Tiffany Silva said. “Just food cost alone is $260,000 a year. I need to have a building to do this because it can’t be out of my restaurant because eventually, we are going to open and hopefully next season we are looking at a completely different situation.”
The Landing Restaurant is currently open for takeout and delivery. “We are scaled back,” Silva said. “We did miss our busy season, but we thought from a health perspective we made the best choice for us. We didn’t feel it was safe for us to open. I didn’t want to put our staff or ourselves at risk or our customers.”
The Landing will resume normal operations when the Silvas feel it is safe to do so. The Landing Love Project is here to stay, too. What they thought would be a short-term project has given them purpose during this difficult time.
“It’s up and down, and you hope that you are going to make it through to the other side,” Silva said when asked how The Landing Restaurant was fairing during the pandemic. “You do as much as you can for other people because there is better use of my time than worrying where we’re going to be when this is over.”
The Landing Love Project serves families that meet the requirements for reduced meals at school and senior citizens. All the donations they receive go to the nonprofit with a goal of $1 million. They are hoping to raise $300,000 of that by the end of the year.
“Our long-range vision is focused on literacy and feeding people,” Silva said. “When we get into a building, we can have a site where we can tutor. We can help adults that need assistance with a GED. If you don’t provide that you are just putting a Band-Aid on a situation and not providing them with the opportunity to get out of that situation.”
Silva said the backbone of The Landing Love Project has been the volunteer drivers. “We could not do this without them. There are people who have been driving the whole time, the eight months we have been delivering.”
The Landing Restaurant is currently accepting donations and seeking volunteers to help deliver meals to those in need.
More information is available thelandingloveproject.com.