Jersey Pizzeria owner takes out a $50,000 loan to keep his staff employed

In the worst of times, we get a chance to see the best in people. Like a bosss, who in the midst of a pandemic, in a state hit hard, did the unexpected for his employees, some of whom have been with him for over two decades.

And this being New Jersey, it’s also a story about pizza.

Bryan and Michael Morin run Federico's Pizza. As news of the Coronavirus spread, Bryan Morin tossed and turned all night eventually bringing life to a virtual standstill and leading to massive layoffs as businesses closed down.

Many of his workers have been with him for years, like his head cook who has been there for 22 years when the business was first owneed by Bryan's father.

“I’m the provider for my employees; I supply their salary, and if they don’t have a salary, they won’t be able to afford their rent, their credit card bills, their insurance, their gas,” he said. He decided to “do the right thing and take the hit, and I’ll make it up somewhere down the line.”

He decided to “do the right thing and take the hit, and I’ll make it up somewhere down the line.” He took out a $50,000 line of credit and promised his workers a job for at least the next two months.

When the community heard about this they rallied, helping out: an extra $10 on top of the usual 20% tip, a few bucks earmarked for the kitchen staff.

But then, something unexpected happened -- a surge of pay-it-forward donations.

People -- some who were ordering food, some who just wanted to help -- called and asked the pizzeria to charge their credit cards for food to be sent to those on the front lines of the virus response: Doctors, nurses and other staff at a nearby hospital, police, firefighters and EMS squads. In just two days Federico’s took in nearly $4,000 to make and deliver pizzas to first responders. The pizzeria also sent 30 free pizzas to Jersey Shore Medical Center, a vital battleground in the fight against COVID-19 in a state that has the second-most cases in the nation.

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