Cary pizzeria keeps workers employed by feeding those in need

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- While restaurants are forced to close the inside of their businesses for dining, some restaurant owners are finding ways to still make it, plus give back to the community at the same time.

Johnny's Pizza in Cary took a hard hit when they were forced to stop serving customers inside their restaurant due to COVID-19 concerns. Despite the emptiness of no customers inside, the pizzeria's kitchen still manages to be buzzing, thanks to owner John Pavlik.

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Pavilk got a call from a local charity, Bridge the Gap Ministries in Raleigh. The non-profit helps provide meals to those in need in the community, but since they can't have volunteers come to their center because of COVID-19 concerns, the non-profit needed help preparing meals from the donated food.

"They called me and said we have a bunch of bread, they are unable as a ministry warehouse to prepare any raw materials, so I obviously can do that as I can prep food in my kitchen," Pavlik said. "So I picked up bread, peanut butter, jelly, lunch meats everything I could get and we are slicing up loaves of bread, banquettes, every bread you could name, we are putting peanut butter and jelly in them and wrapping them individually."

In a matter of a few hours, the staff made and wrapped more than 500 sandwiches that will be given to those in need in the community.

"So they can stuff in bags for bag lunches for various communities all over Wake County," said Pavlik. "It's kept my staff working during the slow periods and were able to give back which has just been amazing, you feel it in your heart."

Pavlik loaded the wrapped sandwiches in his SUV and took them back to Bridge the Gap Ministries so they could be distributed throughout the community to those in need. Pavilk says his workers will keep helping as long as there is a need.

"It's not just about running your business, it's about helping the community," Pavlik added. Besides Bridge the Gap Ministries, he's also helping Carolina Cares.

Johnny's Pizza isn't the only restaurants in the Triangle that is lending a helping hand, ABC11 has heard from many other's also helping and donating food like the Umstead Hotel and Spa.
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The business, like others, shutdown due to COVID-19 concerns, and the chefs and sous-chefs at Herons at Umstead packed up the food that was left at the hotel and donated it to the Boys and Girls Club and the Raleigh Rescue Mission.

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As for Pavlik, he said he's been able to keep his doors open because his customers have been a blessing.

"Keep buying food from local restaurants," Pavlik adds. As long as he can stay open, he says he'll keep his staff busy helping the community.
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