Local pizzerias are helping fight food insecurity by donating pies to those in need on National Pizza Day.
The Pizza Across America campaign created in 2018 by the Jersey Pizza boys -- Carmine, Michael and Nicky Testa -- with Slice Out Hunger asks pizzerias to donate at least 10 pies to their local shelters, soup kitchens and hunger action centers.
Scott Wiener, the founder of the volunteer-driven nonprofit, said "this year it’s even more critical to fight against our nation’s growing food insecurity problem."
Pizza shops from all over the country will participate with the World Pizza Champions to support neighbors in need.
Slice Out Hunger also works with delivery app Slice to help independent pizzerias with the technology, marketing and data insights to easily connect consumers to digital orders and thus, pizza.
Mike Bausch, vice president of World Pizza Champions, said in a statement that its members "are the most award-winning pizzerias in the country and we’re all heavily involved in our communities, so this is our way of leading by example."
Hormel Foods has also partnered with Slice Out Hunger to lend additional support by sponsoring deliveries from participating Pizza Across America pizzerias.
Carmine Testa hailed this program as an important way for pizzerias to give back and support their communities at the local level even at a time when restaurants are hurting.
"Sure, small businesses like pizzerias are having a tough year, but too many people are suffering more than we are," he said. "I like the idea of celebrating National Pizza Day by helping others rather than squandering it by celebrating ourselves."
In a tough year amid the pandemic, local pizza shops fought back to keep people fed. Whether it was donating to front-line health care workers, first responders or families, there were countless stories involving pizza.
As more people started to work from home, Slice data showed that lunch deals from pizzerias increased by 39%.
Despite the industry being hard hit by shutdowns, changes to dining operations and other hurdles, pizza places were quick to adapt to curbside pickup and contactless delivery.
Local pizzerias in the U.S. employed 816,615 workers in 2020, according to Slice.