Commentary: Slice of Hope Thank You

I can’t even begin to express my gratitude for the amount of support Pizza Today readers provided to Slice of Hope this year. The event grew by leaps and bounds in its second installment thanks to the involvement of more than 200 pizzerias nationwide.

In 2011, the inaugural Slice of Hope generated $105,000 for the Karen Mullen Breast Cancer Foundation. In 2012, we’re going to blow well past that figure. As of this writing, more than $90,000 has already come in — and we still have a long list of donors who have yet to send in their pledges!

So, from the bottom of my heart, please accept my most sincere thanks. For those of you who cared enough to get involved, I truly appreciate your efforts.

I’d particularly like to point out the efforts of three pizzerias — Aldo’s Ristorante in Naples, Florida; Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria in Seattle and LaMotta’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria in Fort Myers, Florida.

Tutta Bella’s four stores banded together and heavily promoted Slice of Hope for over a month. The astounding result? $25,000 raised for the Karen Mullen Breast Cancer Foundation!
In Fort Myers, LaMotta’s provided the Slice of Hope cycling crew with a much-needed reception during the tour. Owner Carmello LaMotta provided us with enough carbohydrates to fuel Tour de France riders … and enough tasty pink Muscato wine to help us sleep well! We had a great, relaxing time at LaMotta’s. The hospitality was unparalleled and appreciated more than he will ever know.

Finally, what can I say about Kelly and Aldo Musico, owners of Aldo’s Ristorante in Naples? They hosted the primary Slice of Hope fundraising party on Friday, October 12, and they really set the bar high for any future party hosts. Kelly took her task of planning this party uber-seriously. She began preparations six months ago and her hard work paid off in a major way. You had to see it to believe it, but it was nothing short of amazing. More than 1,000 people showed up to attend the party and support Slice of Hope by purchasing food, t-shirts and tickets to a spectrum of activities that ranged from face painting for the kids to massage therapy at a nearby salon for adults. When all was said and done, this one small pizza shop in Florida managed to raise a whopping $25,000 for the Karen Mullen Breast Cancer Foundation!

Kelly is amazing, and she did this for all the right reasons. It wasn’t a marketing gimmick to her. It was a genuine way to express compassion and contribute to the greater good of American society. But one thing that quickly became apparent to me during her Slice of Hope party is that her business will reap benefits from the event for years to come. That one night positioned Aldo’s as a caring, giving community leader. Time and again I spoke with people who had never previously dined at Aldo’s. They were so impressed with the event and the generosity that they proclaimed themselves loyal customers going forward. As a result of Kelly supporting her community through Slice of Hope, her community is in turn supporting her right back. This is how a good thing can become good business, and seeing it play out live was fascinating.

Here’s to Kelly and every other pizzeria in the U.S. who gets it.

Cheers,

Jeremy White, editor-in-chief
jwhite@pizzatoday.com

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