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Howley's Diner to serve as food distribution site for laid off hospitality workers

Howley's Diner to serve as food distribution site for laid off hospitality workers. (WPEC)

Howley’s is opening its doors during the coronavirus pandemic as a food distribution center for laid-off hospitality workers.

Subculture Coffee is partnering with several charities like Living Hungry to serve at least one meal a day to those who aren’t receiving a paycheck.

Owner Rodney Mayo said in all his decades of business, CoronaVirus concerns forced him to make one of the most difficult decisions he's ever faced. He needed to temporarily close his 17 restaurants in Palm Beach County, which meant laying off 650 workers,

"It's horrific. I cant describe it. It’s painful," said Mayo.

Mayo says he loves his work family, and still wants to provide for them.

"When I pulled up here at noon, our entire parking lot was full of people waiting for food,” he shared, "They might have a lot of other worries, but we’re in the restaurant business and we couldn’t take that one important thing away from them. “

He's starting to help hospitality workers at Howley's, but that's only the beginning. With the help of volunteers, they're also delivering meals to assisted living facilities and fire departments. He plans to open the doors of his other restaurants as the need for help grows.

With nowhere else to turn, people like William Warner and his family drove up to Howley's for a free meal. Both he and his partner worked at a local bar, and have two kids under nine years old.

"I'm worried! Our kids our worried. Our nine year old kid hears about it, and he's scared. And we just want to assure them that they’ll be OK, and that we're doing everything possible to make it as comfortable for them as well as us," they said.

Now Mayo hopes the community and other restaurants step up to help him take care of those who need it most during this unprecedented time.

"I think everybody needs to come together. The need is now," he said.

Laid off hospitality workers can drive up to Howley's every day between 1-6 p.m.

If you want to help these local workers, you can donate to