Pizzeria Owner Turns Robbery into Opportunity to Help Struggling Families

The kind gesture has helped dozens of families experiencing food insecurity as a result of the pandemic.

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- Posted on Jun 2, 2020

Heart-shaped pizza

When two burglars broke into a string of businesses in The Colony, Texas, they could be seen on security cameras fumbling through drawers, attempting to open a safe with a spatula and ultimately leaving empty-handed, said Chamal Kahanawita, one of the owners hit.

“The incident is a reminder of the desperate times we live in,” Kahanawita said in a Facebook post from mid-April, adding that he’s turning this negative situation into a positive by offering to help struggling families in his community. He also stated that since the business “didn’t have a lot of money to begin with” there was little for the burglars to remove from his shop, Marco’s Pizza.

Business owners and food workers in the restaurant industry, like Kahanawita, are struggling to recover from the financial setback the pandemic has caused.

“If you find yourself in a situation unable to put food on the table, please stop by our store. There is no need to be shy or embarrassed. Just speak with the manager and quietly let us know you’ve seen this post. We will make sure your family gets a meal,” Kahanawita wrote.

The Facebook post, which has garnered over two thousand shares, received an outpouring of support, with residents from Texas and beyond, praising the business owner’s generosity.

Facebook user Catherine McCraw-Smith from Memphis, Tennessee, commented, “Loving this all the way from Memphis! What a beautiful way to take this and change it for the good.”

The change, it seems, has been doing a lot of good already, according to an update from Kahanawita. In a Live with Kelly and Ryan interview, the business owner said his business has fed 30 to 40 families so far, in addition to the 150 supported through a local food pantry program in which Marco’s Pizza participates, where they feed about 50 families a week.

He said he hopes his decision, to fight back with kindness, prevents others from “going out and doing something they normally wouldn't do just to provide for their family.”

“We are here because of our community and these are very challenging times for all of us,” he added. “We will do our best to help for as long as we can."

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