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This Local Pizza Guy Keeps Feeding the Needy for Free

The owner of Niko's Pizzeria in Joliet, Illinois, fed thousands of people in need during the pandemic, and he's back at it again this summer.

  • When times get hard for the people of Joliet, Illinois, Nikos Lippas, owner of Niko’s Pizzeria, gets more generous.
  • Lippas has recently partnered with a pair of local nonprofits to provide 50 free meals a week to anyone struggling with financial problems.

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Like most restaurant owners, Nikos Lippas, owner of Niko’s Pizzeria in Joliet, Illinois, is feeling the sting of inflation and rising food costs, but he knows he’s not the only one. Now he’s teaming up with two local nonprofits to make sure people facing food insecurity don’t go without a hot meal. And it won’t be the first time.

According to the Herald-News, Niko’s Pizzeria will partner with Hope and Divine Purpose Transitional Living Home, Inc. and Igniting the Fire Prayer Ministry to provide free meals to 50 people experiencing financial instability every week. These include single moms, senior citizens, veterans and the homeless.

Starting July 14, the meals will be distributed at Igniting the Fire Prayer Ministry’s location by ministry founders Israeio Holloway and her mother, Ora Holloway. People who need a meal don’t have to do anything in advance to get fed. “You just show up,” Israeio said.

Lippas had previously partnered with the two nonprofits during the pandemic. During that time, Lippas and his partners served 120 free meals a week and helped nearly 4,000 families. “It was always a blessing to help people during those days, those times,” he told the Herald-News. “Things are hard for everybody, and when I can do it, I love to help.”

Israeio and Lippas reconnected recently when the former ordered a pie from Niko’s Pizzeria and Lippas volunteered to bring back the program. In addition to free pizza, he will serve sandwiches, wraps and burgers—a new dish each week.

“Let’s all help each other in these difficult times,” Lippas said. “And be safe and God bless you all.”

Niko’s Pizzeria made local headlines in October 2021 when the pizzeria sold a record 1,010 Greek chicken meals in a single day. The company set out to break that record in December of the same year. The meal consisted of a half-chicken made in the Greek style, Greek rice and Greek potatoes, sold for $9.99.