When Michigan shut down indoor dining in 2020, local restaurant owner John Hunter wanted to find a way to give back to the community while continuing to provide employment for his workers. Hunter, who owns The Cabin, Hunter’s Ale House, and O’Kelly’s, found a solution in Pizza 4 Hope.
“We were trying to connect frontline workers with people who wanted to support them,” says Hunter.
While Hunter came up with the original idea, he extends credit to The Cabin’s general manager Angela Nguy?n, who he says has been instrumental in the execution of the program.
Through Nguy?n, pizzas found homes at hospitals, nursing homes, and into the stomachs of many first responders and postal workers.
“I call people up and go, ‘Alright, how many pizzas do you need, when, and where?’,” says Nguy?n about one of her tasks.
After a while, it wasn’t just frontline workers The Cabin was feeding. Hunter says as more donations flowed in from the community, the more places pizzas went such as the local soup kitchen and organizations within the William and Janet Strickler Nonprofit Center.
On any given day, 20 to 50 pizzas left The Cabin’s doors through Pizza 4 Hope. Hunter says the program has slowed since indoor dining reopened, but it has continued donations for the soup kitchen.
Andrew Miller, President of the Community Compassion Network (CCN) housed in the Strickler Center, says the Pizza 4 Hope program was hugely beneficial to CCN.
“The first couple donations helped tremendously because at the beginning of the pandemic, the Community Compassion Network had trouble purchasing food from its main supplier, Greater Lansing Food Bank,” says Miller.
He explains that the Greater Lansing Food Bank didn’t have enough inventory available to purchase at the time and donated pizzas from The Cabin and Pizza King helped to fill that need.
“We’re very thankful for Pizza 4 Hope and the entire community in how it has stepped up and provided both financial and food donations over the past year,” says Miller.