Anacostia residents rally to help pizza place after robbery | News
WASHINGTON, Md. (WUSA9) -- Small mom and pop business have come and gone in Southeast Washington's Anacostia neighborhood. But residents are determined to save a small pizza place that's given back so much to the community.
Five years ago, Fatma Nayir opened Mama's Pizza Kitchen at the corner of Martin Luther King Avenue SE and V Street SE. The neighborhood reminded her of her home in Ankara, Turkey.
"You're living in an area that's rough, and we still love this place. Everybody is very supportive," Nayir said.
Since opening her store, Nayir has developed a reputation of helping people through tough times. She also focuses on hiring locally and all seven full-time employees at the shop are from the Anacostia area.
"If you didn't have enough money, she helped a lot of people get a slice of pizza," Diana Flemming said. "Residents that didn't have money, they would help clean up."
Unemployment is about 50 percent in the neighborhood and Nayir said she expected some crime. But she's been robbed five times at gunpoint.
The latest holdup happened Wednesday, prompting community activist Ron Moten and others to say they've had enough.
"It's really just coming together to wrap ourselves around somebody who has supported our village, who came here when nobody wanted to be here," Moten said.
Moten and the others have set up a GoFundMe page hoping to raise $800 for Nayir and her business. It wouldn't be enough to upgrade security, but it would replace some of what was taken.
"Looking at what she's doing here, she hires out of the community and things like that, we're trying to help her out," Anthony Herald said.
But they've surpassed their goal, raising more than $1,500 in 24 hours. Nayir is both stunned and grateful.
"I just feel like I'm home. They like me, I love them," Nayir said.
"Residents of this community are going to spend time each night of the week in the business, around the closing time to make sure that they're safe and comfortable," Tina Fletcher said.
Nayir can now add security cameras, but she doesn't want plexiglass that keeps her away from her customers.
If you'd like to donate to the GoFundMe page, you can do so here.
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