The past few weeks have been difficult for the food community in Phoenix, as three beloved vendors were involved in serious car accidents that caused damage to all or part of their businesses and serious injuries to two of them.
Husband and wife James and Jawn Golo run a stall at the Downtown Farmers Market selling produce and honey every Saturday.
Richie Vaia or Richie V. also known as Valley “The Chicago Hot Dog Guy“ sold Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches, and pizza in Chandler.
Although the two crashes happened in different cities at different times, the result was the same: lost vans and trucks, which meant loss of livelihood. Both vendors are now asking for help from the community to rebuild.
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This couple of refugee farmers had a serious car accident
On May 26, the Downtown Farmers Market announced on Instagram that James and Jawn Golo of Golo Family Farms had been in a car crash.
James suffered rib and wrist fractures and punctured lungs, while Jawn suffered facial fractures, according to their GoFundMe page. The couple spent some time in intensive care. James is now in rehab and Jawn is out of hospital and currently at home.
If you’ve ever visited the downtown market and passed their farm stand, you’ve no doubt been greeted with big smiles whether or not you stopped to shop.
The Golos fled Ethiopia for the United States as refugees in 2009. They began farming under the New Roots program run by the International Rescue Committee. The couple also participated in Feed Phoenix, a volunteer program committed to the fight against food insecurity.
On May 7, while returning from the market, a motorist swerved in front of his van, pushing into oncoming traffic and causing them to hit a pole.
The community came together to raise funds for a new van and to cover medical bills.
So far, the market’s GoFundMe page has raised $19,315 and is also taking donations on Saturday mornings at the market.
In addition to money, people have also offered to help in other ways and are offering messages of support on Instagram.
Kate Paxton posted a response on Instagram announces, “These two are the sweetest! When my son was born at the start of COVID, they celebrated and sang to him so sweetly! He was blessed by them.
The family will be post updates to the GoFundMe page at Help Local AZ Farmer: Golo Family Farm.
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The Chicago Hot Dog Guy was also involved in a terrible accident
On May 30, Richie V, or Richie Vaia, the so-called “Chicago Hot Dog Guy”, had an accident on his way home from a charity trip.
Although he survived the crash, he fractured his toes and the impact completely destroyed his cell phone. hot dog stand.
Vaia opened her hot dog business, Chicago Dogs by Richie V, in April 2021 at Sunbird Golf Resort.
A year later, in an Instagram video, he announced his quest to drive from Arizona to Chicago on Route 66. He planned to stop in 10 cities and bring the taste of Chicago to each for free to raise awareness about mental health and to feed the homeless.
“I didn’t sell a single hot dog on the trip,” Vaia said. “Everything was given in historic landmarks and later in the day to nurture a refuge or sober living center.”
He raised money to buy gas and food for the trip across the country through sponsors such as Vienna Beef and Micamp Solutions, as well as Facebook donations.
“I have a lot of friends and family who are struggling to find resources after COVID,” Vaia said. “And when I serve food, people smile.”
Vaia’s trip was a success. He fed 1,500 homeless people.
Then, while returning to Chandler, he and the cart he was towing were hit by a tractor-trailer in Albuquerque.
“How am I alive? I must have had an angel protecting me,” says Vaia. “But I am in a lot of physical, emotional and financial pain.”
Vaia told ABC 15, “I will come back stronger than ever. How and when? I don’t know, but I’ll be back.
He set up a GoFundMe to help him rebuild his business and open a physical store in Tempe or Chandler. So far, he’s raised $7,603 of his $50,000 goal.
His GoFundMe page can be found at this Rebuild Richie V’s Chicago Dogs.
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