When you are at Pizzeria La Sorrentina in Vancouver, Washington, you’re family. From the simple yet amazing food, to the fun and familiar atmosphere, you’d think you were visiting long-lost relatives in the “old country.” In fact, the pizzeria is so authentic, the owners learned Italian cooking from their maestro and teacher, Biagio Longo of Sorrento, Italy.

However, the opening almost didn’t happen because of the pandemic. “This restaurant was 15 years in the making by both of us,” says owners Daisuke and Amy Matsumoto. “We had our soft opening on March 14th, only to be closed down the next Sunday evening. It was heartbreaking.” Through so much turbulence, the Matsumoto’s are slowly getting back on track. “We feel like the tortoise in the race with the hare; we are going at a very slow pace, but a strong one,” they say.

During their race toward better days, they are helping out where they can. When Columbia Bank approached them about the Pass It On Project, the Matsumoto’s were excited to join in. With Columbia Bank paying the bill, the Matsumoto’s are donating food to 14 families within the Evergreen School District. “Amy was a teacher herself and knows how difficult that job can be – especially during the pandemic,” says Daisuke. “With Columbia’s resources, we are going to help provide a healthy, fun and delicious break for these amazing teachers and staff.”