A team of three police organizations in Toms River, New Jersey, gave residents a slice of hope during the coronavirus pandemic by purchasing 300 pizzas for their community under a statewide stay-at-home order.
“Pizza is unique,” Officer Jesse Robertazzi tells CNN. “A large pie can feed a family of four, potentially. It’s circular and brings everyone together to pull a slice off to eat.”
Robertazzi said he hoped Pizza Day would give families and businesses that slice of hope in uncertain times.
“For families, it gave them a sense of normality by getting out the house and getting into their favorite pizza shop” to pick up the pies (not to sit down and eat), the father of two tells CNN.
And for the pizzerias, the officers hoped to give business owners a sense of normalcy in a time of social distancing.
Robertazzi was inspired to organize Pizza Day after seeing a similar event on Facebook put on by his colleagues in a nearby town.
“I said, ‘Why can’t we do that?'”
Several phone calls later, and Pizza Day was born. The pizzas were prepared and served across six local pizza shops and ready by lunchtime — first come, first served, and one per family.
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** UPDATE *** All pizzerias have met their 50 pizza goal. Thank you for your continuing patronage to our local establishments. In spirit of today being coined "Great American Takeout" day we wanted to announce something we are very excited. As Covid-19 consumes reality in our area, it’s impact on families and local businesses is troubling. Please join us in our #keepinitlocal initiative. Beginning this Thursday March 26th, the following 6 locally owned pizzerias will be providing 300 pre-purchased large pizzas to Toms River families during these tough times. This program is brought to you by the Toms River PBA, Toms River FOP and Toms River Police Foundation. Please mention “TRPD Pizza Pies” when ordering. Limit 1 Pizza per family while supplies last. Each pizzeria will have 50 large pizzas! Toms River residents only please. We are here for our community to support our residents and our local businesses. Stay safe, stay smart and stay strong! #keepinitlocal Brooklyn Square Pizza 1898 Hinds Rd Positano’s Pizza 1012 Cox Cro Rd Charlie's Pizza 860 Fischer Blvd Capone’s Pizza 17 Washington Street Giampapa’s Pizzaria 1808 Route 37 E Al’s Pizza 1231 Route 166
One pizza parlor went “above and beyond” by throwing in a side of garlic knots with every order. All the shops ran out of the free pies in 90 minutes.
“To give back to the community who are out of work and struggling at the time — it gets them a free meal. It’s one free meal, and it’s something,” Robertazzi said.