How many sandwiches does it take to make a pyramid? Three. How many sandwiches does it take to take your mom on a trip to see the pyramids? Considerably more.
However, that did not prevent a devout son from being able to grow enough bread, and steak and cheese, for this to happen.
Gloria Walker always dreamed of traveling to Giza to see the pyramids, but more than that, she wanted to take her family. Sadly, Walker was diagnosed with terminal cancer last year. Between the cost of the trip, an estimated $ 10,000, and the limitations of her illness, that trip of a lifetime didn’t seem likely in the 56-year-old’s future.
But her son Dustin Vitale was determined to make his mother’s dream come true. I just needed to find a way to make it happen.
Vitale, 26, has three passions: teaching history at First Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School, his family, and cheesesteak. (After all, we are talking about Philadelphia, right?)
Vitale admits to devouring the famous Philadelphia delicacy at least two or three times a week. So what better way than to make and sell your favorite sandwich, using your mom’s recipe, of course, to raise money?
With sale days starting at 4 am for baking homemade muffins, the whole family has been helping out: Dustin and his wife Hailey share the griddle service; her stepfather is in charge of the preparation. Dustin’s father, stepmom, sister, and brother, along with a few steadfast friends, have been working toward the goal.
They have been doing it since February.
Vitale began chronicling the team’s efforts for Instagram, soon gathering a growing circle of cheesesteak-loving fans.
“We didn’t know how long the ad was going to last, so we decided to keep telling everyone and see how many we get,” Vitale told Philadelphia Enquirer. “We ended up doing 94 in one day and we were blown away.”
Along the way, they became a fan of award-winning Philadelphia chef Michael Solomonov, who gave Vitale and his team five-star recognition on Instagram for both his heart and his cooking.
After that, the lawsuit exploded. However, without a commercial kitchen, Vitale struggled to keep up. That’s when the owner of a local food truck stepped in with an offer to let cheesesteak fundraisers work from his mobile kitchen facility.
Over the course of six weeks, the group raised $ 18,000, enough for Vitale to take the family to Egypt with money to spare. They are ready to go to Giza to watch later this year.
While the winning gridiron gig turned out to be a game changer for his mother, Vitale has no plans to change professional positions as a result. “A lot of people say, ‘Are you going to get into this and open a store?’” Vitale told the Enquirer. “I never could. I love putting this aside. My heart and my passion is teaching and for students.”
It seems that passion is as intrinsic to Vitale’s character as cheesesteak is to Philadelphia. That is why, as a devoted son whose mother means the world to him, there is nothing on this earth, or beyond, that he would not do to make her happy.
“If she had asked to go to the moon,” he said. CBS News, “I would have made that happen too.”
Somehow, we believe it.
SHARE this sweet family love story with your friends …
North Carolina-based writer Judy Cole has a new rom-com murder mystery debuting on Amazon: And Jilly came rolling after (from Red Sky Presents).