ASBURY PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Two brothers from Monmouth County plan to walk across America for restaurant worker relief.
CBS2’s Meg Baker met them on Thursday as they prepared for their journey.
Aiden and Louis Ardine have been prepping their legs to walk more than 3,000 miles, from Asbury Park to the Redwood National Forest outside of San Francisco, to raise money for the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy group.
“To support the service industry, which has so long supported us,” Louis said.
“Trying to hit big cities with a culinary scene. We’re going to interview restaurant workers and small business owners across the country, to share their stories with the rest of America so they can a bit of insight into what this year has been like for us,” Aiden added.
The Red Bank brothers were laid off from their bartending jobs at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. They then returned for a stressful summer. Having both moved home due to decreased wages, they then decided to leave their jobs due to fear a of exposing their family to the virus.
“Getting sick, exposing your family, making less money. We just feel like our industry kind of got left behind a little bit,” Aiden said.
The brothers’ former boss, Charles Interante, said the past year has been devastating, adding he appreciates the Ardines’ efforts.
“Loss of gross revenue creates, obviously, less jobs. It was difficult to have that weigh on your head every day, or the people you had to let go, who you know needed this,” Interante said.
The brothers estimate the trek will take five months and they will be camping out or relying on the kindness of strangers along the way.
“Sleeping pad, sleeping bag, a tent,” Louis said.
They start pounding the pavement this weekend, with the goal of raising $30,000. That’s $10 a mile.
You can follow along their journey and donate on their website by clicking here.
CBS2’s Meg Baker contributed to this report