DOWNEY, Calif. – We are officially into April, which means rent is due and bills need to be paid. Many workers -- particularly those in the restaurant industry -- have been laid off or are enduring reduced hours, which makes it difficult to keep up with payments.
Olive Restobar is just one restaurant that is trying its best to help its employees at the beginning of a new month.
It may look like a small grocery store, but Carlos Celis is actually shopping at the Olive Restobar where he works as a bartender. The best part: it's all free.
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Celis can bring fresh meat, veggies, and milk home to his family who are struggling during this time.
“Yes, this helps. Anything little helps,” said Celis.
Now that we are in a new month, Celis will have to pay rent and bills that he just cannot afford right now. He was a bartender for the restaurant before coronavirus restrictions. Now, he just handles to-go orders, which means his hours are cut and he isn’t making his normal tips.
“It’s stressful, pretty sure for many people in this industry. I definitely can’t make my rent on time or bills and all that. But I am here for the community too, at least working a few hours,” said Celis.
He is grateful for the little hours he is able to work, but it is still not enough money to support him and his 11 children.
“I cannot describe the feeling because I’m not making all those tips. Just living on minimum wage, it’s a devastating feeling because I am making about 30 percent of what I used to make,” said Celis.
This is why general manager Rami Nasser says they decided to offer free produce to their 80 employees, especially because only about seven are working right now. The restaurant wanted to help in the little way they could.
“On a regular day, we worry about the beginning of the month. On these days it’s multiplied by 100. So, we wanted to at least give our people, our employees, a piece of mind when it comes to having great food, healthy food at home to eat. It is something I can do for them to take a little bit of the burden off their back,” said Nasser.
Celis feels blessed his restaurant family is coming together during this difficult time. He will continue to work and serve whoever can grab takeout.
“I am here every day for the community. Hopefully they can come to the Olive and help us. I can’t wait till everything will go back to normal,” said Celis.
Back to when he can serve guests at the bar again.
Olive Restobar is offering delivery and takeout through apps and direct calls.