South Fayette students organize food bank fundraiser at Brick n’ Mortar restaurant – TribLIVE

Restaurant News

Enjoy tasty food at Heidelberg’s own Brick n’ Mortar restaurant on Feb. 28-29, and help feed hungry mouths through The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

South Fayette students Maya and Aja Butler are organizing the fundraiser at the restaurant where patrons are asked to donate a nonperishable item and 10 percent of their meal will be donated to the food bank.

“I like the satisfaction of knowing that I’m helping someone who can’t always help themselves, whether it’s that they lost their job and weren’t able to get back on their feet or something bad happened like that,” said Maya, 16, a junior.

The Butler girls said they’ve grown up in an environment where their family strives to help others in need. They’ve learned from that.

Their mom, Carrie, is a trustee at the Bradley Center, a residence and school that helps children who are overcoming trauma. Maya visited the Bradley Center in fifth grade. After the visit, she wanted to help, so she organized a toy drive to help the children at the center.

“We’ve grown up with a lot of emphasis on community service,” Maya said.

Their aunt Colleen Marches, an ESL teacher at Chartiers Valley Primary, is “always trying to help out families,” Maya said.

It was their parents, who were involved in a fundraiser at the Hard Rock Cafe called Hungry Hearts, that introduced them to the needs of The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, she said.

For several years, their dad, Dr. Stephen Butler, who works in academic leadership, but on the side is a musician, performed in all of the shows, while mom, Carrie, served as producer and publicist. The event raised nearly $50,000 over the years.

Aja, 14, an eighth grader at South Fayette, was looking for a way to help others for her service requirement for her upcoming confirmation at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Carnegie.

Maya was impacted by a close family friend who was struggling with addiction, she said. She wanted to do something “that inspires hope.”

The sisters came up with the idea for the fundraiser at Brick n’ Mortar, where Maya works.

Owner Ricci Minella said he was excited to help.

“It’s a great cause and it’s above and beyond what most high school students would do,” he said.

The American style restaurant, which opened three years ago in Heidelberg, serves up a variety of sandwiches, pizza, burgers and pasta. Minella started the business as a hot dog stand and later opened a food truck.

Maya sees the fundraiser as a win for everyone. You get to eat good food and donate money to a worthy cause, she said.

Working at Brick n’ Mortar has helped Maya come out of her comfort zone. She’s no longer the shy girl that she once was when she started there.

So, if the fundraiser drives more people to the community restaurant, she sees that as a win, also.

The Butler sisters researched the food bank and what its needs are.

They’re hoping to collect canned fruit, soups, whole grain cereal and pasta, along with items for babies, like diapers and wipes.

“The thing that really impacted me the most is that in our state there are more than 400,000 children like us who experience hunger on a daily basis, which is one in every five kids not knowing where their next meal will come from,” Aja said.

Seeing that makes her feel grateful for her family and sad for those struggling.

“I just hope that they can get in a better state,” she said.

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Visit Brick n’ Mortar on Feb. 28-29 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. with a nonperishable item and 10 percent of your meal will be donated to The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

Brick n’ Mortar is located at 1709 E. Railroad St. For more information, visit or call 412-276-0727 for takeout.

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