As city regulations force the closing of many restaurants and other stores due to the coronavirus outbreak, Dodo Pizza is striving to do its part to keep the food industry in Oxford afloat.
Alena Tikhova, owner of Dodo Pizza, has opened her doors to create Oxford’s first Restaurant Workers Relief Center, which pledges to provide hot meals, toiletries, cleaning supplies, or other personal hygiene items to those who need it the most right now.
Tikhova said that her inspiration came from seeing relief centers open all across the country in large cities, which led her to want to play a part in her own home of Oxford as well.
“What is happening right now is every restaurant owner’s nightmare,” Tikhova said. “You have to let your best people go and watch them struggle.”
While safety is everyone’s top priority right now, the repercussions of these ‘shutdowns’ across the country drastically affect people’s daily lives. Tikhova says she knows of about 750 people who have been laid off in Oxford alone, and the number is continuously growing.
“There are also a lot of people in town with hours cut down to 15-20 a week,” she said. “They haven’t been laid off yet, but it is impossible to survive in Oxford working fifteen hours a week. These people need help as well and we will be helping them.”
While this dark time is only temporary for now, Tikhova sees it as a chance to give back to the community which has given so much to her and her business.
“We know it will be over, we know our customers will come back, etc.,” Tikhova said. “But we also know that our crews that have become our families are the most vulnerable right now and that keeps us up at night.”
In just a few days of being open, she says they have already received a number of generous monetary and tangible donations, such as food items and toiletries.
“For one person it can be food, for another one – baby care products. Some might need help with paying a bill or two. We’ll be able to help with that as well.”
In the upcoming days, Tikhova says she will be posting about available donations and how applicants can come pick them up. She says the only requirement is that you must be a restaurant worker who has been laid off or whose hours have been cut significantly.
Dodo Pizza is located at 614 Jackson Avenue E, and donations can be dropped off at any time of the day. Dodo’s workers will organize and distribute them fairly between all applicants. For more information about the Relief Center, follow this link.
By Luke Little