After a brutally hot summer that doesn’t seem to end, Spinato’s Pizzeria and Family Kitchen and St. Vincent de Paul are teaming up to help those experiencing homelessness by fundraising for the nonprofit while challenging Spianto’s guests to distribute “kindness bags” this month, National Kindness Month.
The kindness bags, provided by a private donor, include toiletries, snacks and water. The bags are located at each of Spinato’s six restaurants for a donation of $5, and 100% of the proceeds go back to St. Vincent de Paul. Spinato’s guests are encouraged to purchase the Kindness Bags and distribute them to someone they see who is in need.
Then, closing out the month’s efforts, Spinato’s will make fresh pizza in St. Vincent de Paul’s kitchen and serve it to St. Vincent’s guests during dinner on Monday, Sept. 25.
According to the most recent count from January 2023, there were 4,900 unsheltered people and 4,700 sheltered people experiencing homelessness. The extreme heat has been especially challenging for those without shelter. A 2022 Maricopa County Department of Public Health report revealed that unhoused people accounted for about 40% of the 425 heat-associated deaths tallied last year in Maricopa County.
“We have been so impressed with the work St. Vincent de Paul is doing to feed, clothe, house and heal individuals and families in our community who have nowhere else to turn for help,” said Jaime Spinato, Spinato’s director of community outreach. “We wanted to do something meaningful and give our guests a chance to really make a difference through a small, compassionate act of kindness. We also hope to increase awareness of the critical work St. Vincent’s is doing in our community while raising much-needed funds for their programs.”
St. Vincent de Paul has been serving communities throughout central and northern Arizona since 1946. Programs include services for people experiencing homelessness, medical and dental care for uninsured patients, charity dining rooms that serve thousands each day, food boxes for hungry families and thrift stores throughout the region.
Recently, the nonprofit has experienced a sharp increase in providing food assistance to support the additional community shelters coming online in response to the Valley’s homelessness crisis.
“In our dining rooms alone, we’re prepping more than 7,000 meals each day, which is 2,500 more than we were serving just a few months ago,” said Danielle McMahon, associate chief operations officer at St. Vincent de Paul. “Many of our vulnerable, underserved people we serve are in crisis mode, and we are grateful for partners like Spinato’s Pizzeria and the kindness of their guests. We often say that we’re all in this together, and we appreciate their support as we all work to save lives.”
McMahon said that food donations are also needed, and that St. Vincent de Paul can provide a business or community center with a donation bin. St. Vincent de Paul can drop off and pick up the bin.
Spinato’s Pizzeria & Family Kitchen opened its first location in Scottsdale in 1974 with the mission of serving authentic Italian cuisine in a family friendly atmosphere. Best known for its Chicago-style pizza, the family-owned restaurant has expanded its menu to include delicious sandwiches, pastas, calzones, salads as well as gluten-free and vegan options.
The restaurant has locations throughout the Valley in Gilbert, Tempe, Scottsdale and Phoenix. To view the menu, visit SpinatosPizzeria.com.
For more information about St. Vincent de Paul, visit stvincentdepaul.net.