Indiana Pizzeria Addresses Homelessness While Serving Great Pizza
An example of a social enterprise, Agape Pizza employs homeless people living in transitional housing.
With 15,000 homeless people around Indianappolis, Agape Pizza offers opportunities to help some get back on their feet.
The name of Agape Pizza, a newly opened pizzeria in Greenwood, Indiana, says it all: the Greek word “agape” means love and often appears in a Christian context referring to God’s love for humankind. And Tom and Angie Wilhelmi founded the pizza shop with love for all in mind.
Just as Jesus cared for the outcasts of society, Agape Pizza only employs homeless people living in transitional housing and trying to bounce back from hard times. “Instead of always being turned down for jobs, here, well, you’ve got the job—don’t worry about it,” Angie Wilhelmi told TV affiliate WXIN in a report that also ended up airing on CNN.
And 100 percent of the tips the Wilhelmis receive at the restaurant go to Tear Down the Walls, a local ministry that serves the poor and the homeless in Indianapolis.
Tom Wilhelmi says he has been through the same turmoil that his employees have suffered. “For a couple of weeks, when I was transitioning from selling drugs and running a gambling operation to trying to go legit, I was homeless myself,” he said.
Agape Pizza is an example of a social enterprise—a for-profit business that also attempts to solve a social ill in a community. “There are 15,000 homeless people around Indianapolis, and there are not enough people to love and help them back,” Tom said.
But the Wilhelmis will do their part and offer some great pizza in the process.