The Hotel Fénix in Guadalajara’s historic center has seen illustrious guests in its 108-year history, including John F. Kennedy and Mexican stars María Félix, Cantinflas and Pedro Infante.
Today it is empty, but keeping the spirit and tradition of the much-loved hotel alive during the coronavirus pandemic was important for general manager Felipe Ríos, and so was meeting the payroll for the hotel’s 80 employees.
So Ríos got creative and decided to begin making tamales for delivery in the hotel’s restaurant, La Tía Paz, in order to keep the paychecks coming for his loyal staff.
But Ríos didn’t stop there. He also created a social media campaign called “Put Your Heart in a Tamal,” vowing that for every dozen tamales ordered at 180 pesos (around US $7.50), the Fénix would donate six tamales to medical workers and the families of coronavirus patients.
The idea took off in a big way.
Ríos hoped to make and deliver 1,500 tamales a day, but since he launched last Thursday orders have been pouring in. On Friday alone, Fénix’s workers prepared some 8,000 tamales, with nearly half of those going to healthcare workers.
Orders have even come in from Mexicans living in other countries such as the United States, France and Colombia, who heard about the campaign on social media and were eager to have to help support the hotel’s workers at the same time as those on the front lines of the virus. On Sunday a business donated nearly 90 pounds of chicken to the effort.
In just a few short days the hotel has in essence been transformed into a tamal factory and call center, Ríos says, as workers struggle to keep up with demand, heartened by both purchases and donations.
And the support and generosity will continue, as will the tamales, even after coronavirus restrictions, Ríos vows. Lessons learned about the spirit of giving during a crisis will remain with him and his employees.
Once the staff gets back to work, the hotel’s restaurant will continue making and selling tamales on a permanent basis, he says, but 100% of the profits will go to charities and those in need.
Source: El Financiero (sp)