It’s hard to stay angry with a slice of fresh, hot pizza in your mouth—and that’s what Don Calhoun, owner of a Glass Nickel Pizza location in Wausau, Wisconsin, is counting on with his new “Give Pizza Chance” promotion.
The Glass Nickel store currently offers curbside pickup and contactless delivery only but hopes to reopen dine-in services by the end of the month. Meanwhile, Calhoun wants to use the power of his pies to promote unity in a turbulent period in American history. In late May, he announced that his restaurant would donate five 14-inch, one-topping pizzas every day for anyone who wanted to make a difference in another person’s life. In June, the offer was upgraded to the same pizza with up to two toppings.
“Take notice of the people around you and in your life,” a May 29 post on Glass Nickel’s Facebook page read. “If you know someone facing hardship, bring them a pizza. A free pizza. Friend, family, stranger, it doesn’t matter … Pick it up and bring it to whomever you choose.”
The post listed possible beneficiaries of the free-pizza offer, such as a homeless person, someone who recently lost their job or a couple with a newborn baby. Another possibility: “A peace offering for a friend or family member you’ve had a fight or disagreement with (and talk over the pizza to hopefully smooth things out).”
“We just ask that you bring someone a pizza with LOVE in your heart,” the post continued. “YOU are going to know who needs some love better than we could ever. We’ll make the pizza, you deliver the love. This isn’t going to fix all the troubles we face. But maybe it can help. More love for each other can’t hurt, right?”
In an interview with a local TV station, Calhoun said he had given away free pizza to a local protester recently. “I saw somebody with a sign on the side of the road when I was on a delivery, and I went back to the store, I made him a pizza, brought it to him, and I was like, ‘Man, that felt good,’ and he was really appreciative.”
In a June 8 post on Facebook, the Glass Nickel store went further by declaring its support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
“We at GNP Wausau oppose the racism and systemic oppression that have existed in this country for centuries,” the post read. “We believe Black Lives Matter. We believe that words can only go so far. Action is required to affect change. We pledge to take action in the ways that we can to support anybody who wants to change the conditions in this country that have left so many people at a fundamental disadvantage. While we’ve continued to support our community groups who continuously do the tough work pushing for change, equality and unity, we wanted to invite our customers to help expand our reach. It is a small contribution to be sure in the grand scheme of things, but it’s what we do best, one pizza at a time.”
That post also gave the promotion its official name: “Give Pizza Chance.”
Calhoun told the TV station that people “need to understand each other more and … one of the best ways to do that is over a meal.”
“If we continue to see each other as opposing enemies,” he added, “it’s just gonna be stressful for all of us going forward.”