May 12, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
The Woodside/Sunnyside community is coming together to raise funds for the families of two well-known restaurant workers who lost their lives to COVID-19 last month.
Deodoro Monge Gutierrez, the owner and chef of Bliss 46 Bistro in Sunnyside, and Pedro Sanchez, a long time staff member at the Woodside Cafe, died within two days of each other last month. Both men were popular and respected members of the community.
GoFundMe pages have been set up to help both men’s families cope with the financial burden stemming from their death.
Gutierrez had operated his restaurant at 43-46 46th St. since 2011 and it had become a favorite for many locals who sought French food. He passed away from complications with COVID-19 on April 21.
His family launched a GoFundMe page Monday and are looking to raise $20,000. The community has already donated more than $4,000 in less than 24 hours.
The contributions will go toward covering medical and funeral costs, his family wrote on the GoFundMe page.
Gutierrez was treated at Elmhurst Hospital for three weeks before he died. His body was cremated and the family plan to hold a memorial service in Mexico later this year. They hope to bury his ashes alongside his parents.
Gutierrez’s daughter, Melissa Monge, wrote on the GoFundMe page that the family is in need of the funds since the restaurant has been closed due to the COVID-19 shutdown.
“With our restaurant shuttered, and our family broken by my dad’s loss, we are emotionally overwhelmed and financially drained,” she wrote.
On April 23, Pedro Sanchez lost his battle with COVID-19 after being hospitalized with the virus in early March.
Sanchez was a familiar face to patrons of Woodside Café, located at 60-06 Woodside Ave., where he served up food and drinks.
He was known as a kind, hardworking man and his employer set up a GoFundMe page for his family on April 27. They aimed to raise $20,000 to offer financial relief to his wife and three sons.
The donations have poured in and within 24 hours more than $15,000 was raised. To date about $27,000 has been collected for his family.
Sanchez was buried on May 6 and the contributions will go toward paying for a proper funeral once the New York City allows large gatherings to resume.
If you know of residents or community members who passed away due to COVID-19 and should be memorialized, please leave a comment below or email us at [email protected].