DENVER — For years, the owners of Oblio's Pizzeria have tried to help their neighbors in Denver's Park Hill neighborhood.
From fundraisers for schools in the area to support for teachers striking for better pay, co-owner Morgan McKay has supported causes in her neighborhood. When COVID-19 hit, she gave even more.
"We provided free dinners for furloughed workers and their families," McKay said. "I love helping people out because I just love the community."
But now, after nearly two years of hardships and difficulties, McKay is asking for help from her neighbors. Supply chain struggles, paired with hiring shortages and a shifting demand have made the business nearly impossible to maintain.
"First there was a cheese shortage. Then there was a wing shortage. All these restaurants didn't even have wings on their menu anymore, because you can't get wings anywhere. And then now there's a pizza box shortage," McKay said. "We've raised our prices dramatically to try and account for this extreme labor increasing this extreme food price."
On top of the supply problems, the restaurant is also struggling with a staffing shortage.
"You can't even get a server to work here," McKay said, explaining that servers now demand up to double the wage as before.
But McKay has found assistance is available, she just needed to ask her community.
She started a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for the restaurant's climbing fees and many have already pitched in. By 10 p.m. on Sunday night, less than 24 hours after it was created, the campaign raised nearly $20,000 of the $50,000 requested.
And her neighbors, who watched Oblio's give so much to the Park Hill community, have caught on as well. Just one day after the call for help was posted, customers have come back to the restaurant in droves.
"We decided to go out and celebrate being dressed up and out of the house," said Mary Schmidlin, who visited Oblio's after seeing a posting about the restaurant. "We have so many fond memories from coming here and celebrating special events and holidays."
Now, McKay hopes the community support and reinvigorated customer base will help her business push through the winter.
"It makes me want to cry that so many people are supporting us," McKay said. "There's people there that are there to love you and uplift you and so I just try and stay positive and hope that it'll work out."