Little Caesars Love Kitchen and Rockets serve up pizza at local missionWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Rockets football team hopes to serve its opponent with a loss in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl later this month – but first, several players gathered in Downtown Toledo to serve pizza to the homeless.
The Little Caesars Love Kitchen, an 18-wheeled big-rig with a kitchen inside, rolled up to the Cherry Street Mission on Dec. 17 and volunteers from the University of Toledo, including Coach Tim Beckman and five members of the UT football team, served freshly made pizza to about 250 people.
The Love Kitchen travels across the U.S. and Canada delivering complimentary pizza to those in need, including the hungry, the homeless and disaster victims. It has fed more than two million people in 48 states and four Canadian provinces since 1985, and has served pizza at disaster sites such as Hurricane Katrina, the World Trade Center on 9/11, and the floods in North Dakota and Iowa.
All dough and toppings are donated by local Little Ceasars franchises and are prepared and cooked inside the truck by local Little Caesars employees before being served by local volunteers.
“Little Caesars has a big history of giving back to the community,” said local franchisee Mike Wrobel. “When you can give back, it’s great to be able to do so and the Love Kitchen is a great way to do that.”
Also serving at the Toledo event were Beckman’s wife, Kim, and son, Tyler; UT football players Jared Strait, Diauntae Morrow, Isaiah Ballard, Adonis Thomas and Colin McHugh; UT Athletic Director Mike O’Brien; and several other UT administration officials.
The Toledo stop came in recognition of UT’s appearance in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl as well as to help raise awareness of the importance of giving back to the Toledo community. The nationally televised matchup against Florida International University (FIU) is set for 8:30 p.m. Dec. 26 at Ford Field in Detroit. The game will broadcast live on ESPN.
Dave Fox, who drove the Love Kitchen to Toledo from a similar event near FIU just days earlier, said the temperatures in Miami were in the 30s, same as Toledo, and “people were freaking out a little.”
“It’s important for us to support and give back to the communities where we do business,” said Little Caesars President and CEO David Scrivano in a news release. “We are proud to be working with our franchisees to provide a hot pizza meal to those in need in Toledo.”
One person served by Coach Beckman was Clyne Wyley of Toledo, who said he was a fan of the Rockets.
“They’re my team,” Wyley said.
Darrick Carr of Toledo said he was thankful for the meal.
“I saw a big pizza truck out there and I came right over,” Carr said. “Pizza and free – that’s a good combination.”
Beckman said his players are required to do five hours of community service during the off-season and two hours during football season.
“These guys have all reached that; they’re just doing a little extra today,” Beckman said. “I think it’s just part of building a student-athlete.”
Strait said he enjoyed serving pizza: “It lets you know how truly blessed we are.”