GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — The past year has been brutal for most locally-owned restaurants in Michigan after multiple rounds of shutdowns and capacity limits have kept the money from flowing as it normally would. But despite the struggles, several restaurants in West Michigan, including Mr. Pizza, have given back to the community, time and time again.
"Now, it’s more important than ever," said owner Jacob Schoonmaker.
"We’re strapped. Everyone’s strapped. Restaurants are having their good and bad days and we’ve got to stick together. Right now, it’s critical that we know where we come from and who we’re here for, and we’ve got to keep moving forward."
Tuesday, Feb. 9 marked National Pizza Day, which gave the restaurant the perfect reason to help out again. The Grand Rapids Home for Veterans was planning on having pizza to mark the occasion and the donation made the day even more special.
"It really means a lot," said Lynne Myszak, who serves as part of the home's Team 212. The team is in charge of keeping morale up at the home at a time when morale can be hard to come by.
"People appreciate so much when you do little things like just saying ‘thank you.' But when you can get a meal donated, people just are so grateful. They want to know where it’s from, how it happened, and we just love to promote businesses like that."
Mr. Pizza fed around 185 people at lunch, 75 more at dinner, and at 1 a.m. on Feb. 10, they will feed about 50 third shifters.
The restaurant also donated 300 turkeys for Thanksgiving, and has donated pizza and subs to the United Way and frontline health care workers at Mercy Health and Spectrum Butterworth Hospitals. Schoonmaker calls it a "small gesture" compared to the sacrifices made by our nation's veterans and health care workers.
"They’re the heroes. They’re the ones that make it go around and keep us moving. What we do is very minimal and it makes us feel very good to do those kinds of things," he said.
The holiday cheer at the Home for Veterans won't end with National Pizza Day. They're also expecting another special delivery this week.
"We also have something coming this Friday from an auxiliary that’s donating heart shaped cookies so we’ll pass that out for Valentine’s Day," Myszak said.
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