By Jennifer Gomori, MAFF Editor
In the wake of the pandemic, Michigan Pizza Hut management wanted to show their support to the local communities they serve by helping area fire departments and firefighting organizations, including Michigan Association of Fire Fighters (MAFF).
During the month of October 2023, roughly 75 percent of the 38 Pizza Hut’s located in the state helped raise funds for firefighting equipment and various items benefiting area departments.
“We did an overall fundraiser for Fire Prevention Month, so we asked each of our restaurants to participate and they called on their local fire departments to see if they would want to participle in a fundraiser to help raise money for equipment and various things the fire department needed,” said Bryan Joseph, Director of Sales and Marketing for Michigan Pizza Hut.
“It was a one day event in the parking lot of our Pizza Huts,” he said. “Each individual restaurant called on the local fire department, so it wasn’t a set day. All these events fundraisers were done on different days in October. We think it’s good for the communities and good for the organization to help raise money.”
Manistee Pizza Hut General Manager Sue Chick organized a local fundraiser with the help of Filer Township Volunteer Fire Department.
“Sue Chick contacted them and they were happy to bring their fire trucks and several of their emergency vehicles. Families came with their children to the event,” Joseph said. “Firefighters did some demonstrations with the ladder trucks and they allowed kids to come and sit inside a fire truck or on the back of the truck with the aid of a firefighter.”
Chick continued raising funds throughout the month by keeping a firefighters boot on the checkout counter. The local fundraiser brought in $237. Statewide, Pizza Hut raised approximately $8,000 in donations, Joseph said.
MAFF received a call from Joseph, who stated that due to Filer Township Fire Department being volunteer, Township officials recommended the donation be shared with MAFF. The $237 donation to MAFF was put into the organization’s Carl Parsell Scholarship Fund for future scholarship awards.
The October fundraisers inspired several Michigan Pizza Hut managers participating in 2023 to plan another fundraiser this October.
“Sue had never done a firefighter fundraiser before, so I asked her if she wanted to do it again in the future. She said ‘Yes,’ they did want to do it in October next year,” Joseph said. “A lot of the local managers want to do it again. Now that they know how to organize the event, they’re excited to do it again. It gives us more of an opportunity to be involved in the communities since the pandemic.”