The donations were mostly small: $5 from one person, $10 from another, the occasional $100 donation here and there.
But when combined, the sheer number of donations for local restaurant Luna Rosa Gelato Cafe totaled more than $22,000 — and counting.
On Thursday, Lauren Ortiz, who runs Luna Rosa with her family, posted a call for help on GoFundMe, the popular crowd-sourced fundraising platform.
“We love our Greenville family and could use your help,” Lauren began her post.
Luna Rosa has been open in Greenville since 2007, the passion project of Lauren Ortiz and her husband, Jose Ortiz, along with her parents, Richard and Linda Schweitzer. The restaurant spent 10 years on West Washington Street before moving in 2019 to its current location on Main Street. That move required a significant investment, which is a major concern now that a large percentage of Luna Rosa’s business has been eaten up due to the pandemic.
“Everything we have is in here,” said Lauren Ortiz’s father, Richard Schweitzer, when speaking to the Greenville Journal last year.
At the start of this week, the Ortiz family was near the breaking point on its Greenville location. Their rent had increased at the start of the year to $10,745.54, a price that Ortiz said is unsustainable without further government assistance such as PPP grants and non-forgivable loans.
“After 13 years, it is with heavy, humbled hearts to tell you that we are threatened with losing our Greenville home, in spite of doing everything in our power to meet the rent and make our way towards the light at the end of the tunnel,” Ortiz wrote. “That light for us being warmer months, beautiful outdoor patio seating, vaccines being distributed, and our family’s livelihood surviving this unprecedented time in history.”
But the amount of money raised will now allow Luna Rosa to pay for two months rent, hopefully long enough to make it to that “light at the end of the tunnel.”
Ortiz signed off the Go Fund Me page with the words: “With so much love.”
Those who are donating are also able to leave messages along with their donations. The most common message was simple: a heart symbol.