Doughnate Pizza Feeds the Homeless With Chicago’s Greatest Pies

Dwelling on the streets is difficult sufficient. Dwelling on the streets of Chicago within the useless of winter is downright perilous, placing already susceptible individuals at higher danger of psychological sickness, pneumonia, tuberculosis, bronchitis and malnutrition, amongst myriad well being threats.

Angelo Corso, the founding father of a Windy Metropolis nonprofit known as Doughnate Pizza, is aware of he can’t save all of them. However he can feed as many as he can discover. And because the scion of the pizza-making household behind the venerable Angie’s Sports activities Bar & Pizzeria on Chicago’s south aspect, Corso chooses to nourish their our bodies and carry their spirits with the world’s biggest meals.

“Doughnate Pizza began simply as a enjoyable dialog with a pal,” Corso stated. “We talked concerning the misuse of funds for nonprofits, the way you by no means know the place your donated cash goes, and in addition how superb it may very well be to include the giving of our favourite meals—pizza—to the homeless.”

Corso based Doughnate Pizza, a 100% volunteer-based group, in late April 2022, and it has since fed greater than 6,000 individuals hunkering in shelters and huddling towards the bitter-cold wind on avenue corners and in again alleys of the town. “For each single greenback that you simply donate,” Corso stated, “you obtain an electronic mail about which shelter acquired your contribution in pizza, how many individuals you fed, and what restaurant location we partnered up with.”

Doughnate Pizza counts on pizzerias like Paulie Gee’s Wicker Park to feed the homeless.

At current, Doughnate Pizza has greater than 50 restaurant companions, from Chicago pizza legends corresponding to Lou Malnati’s, Pat’s Pizzeria, Piece Brewery and Pizzeria, and Robert’s Pizza and Dough Co. to extremely acclaimed upstarts like Zazas Pizzeria and Pizza Boy. In different phrases, homeless Chicagoans get to dig into a number of the finest pies in a metropolis well-known for its excessive pizza high quality, because of Corso and his group of volunteers.

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Doughnate’s company companions embrace Matt’s Cookies, Medline and Dude Wipes. Neighborhood nonprofit companions embrace Lincoln Park Neighborhood Companies, Deborah’s Place, The Night time Ministry and Howard Brown Well being, all of which have a number of areas serving individuals in want all through the Chicago space. However wherever there’s a shelter or avenue nook in Chicago with hungry individuals, Corso is able to ship scorching, recent pies.

“We by no means ask our restaurant companions totally free pizza,” Corso notes. “We ask for a reduction on our orders so our donors’ {dollars} can go additional in serving to struggle starvation and homelessness in Chicago. So when we have now a meal we have to serve, we attain out to our restaurant companions to position an order. We obtain wherever from 50% to 70% off on our order, and we’re tax-exempt. We simply ask the restaurant companions what they wish to give as a reduction, they usually have been so beneficiant and accommodating. With these reductions we will present extra meals for extra individuals. The donor’s greenback actually goes a lot additional.”

Corso or a volunteer picks up the pizzas and delivers it to the designated shelter. “Along with pizza, we make salads and convey a dessert,” he stated.

You’ll additionally discover Corso and his group of volunteers out on the streets, bringing pizza to unsheltered individuals who might need missed their final a number of meals. “As well as, we work with nonprofit applications in Chicago. If they’ve an occasion or dinner service, we convey within the pizzas as nicely,” Corso stated.

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Lower than a yr outdated, Doughnate Pizza continues to be “within the start-up section,” Corso stated, working to develop a sign-up calendar for many who wish to volunteer and constructing out its infrastructure.

Corso retains his donors and supporters up to date on Doughnate’s good works via reels and posts on Instagram, the place he celebrates the pizzerias that contribute to the trigger and promotes the nonprofit’s personal line of merchandise, corresponding to T-shirts, hoodies and hats sporting the Doughnate Pizza emblem. In a January 26 reel, he paid tribute to Zazas Pizzeria for offering discounted pies to feed greater than 30 “lovely people” sheltered by Lincoln Park Neighborhood Companies.

Final October, Doughnate Pizza celebrated Nationwide Pizza Month with an initiative that fed the hungry and homeless each single day all through the month. For instance, residents of the Broadway Youth Middle, a homeless shelter for LGBTQ youth, loved pizzas from D’Agostino’s Pizza and Pub and Paulie Gee’s Wicker Park. Shoppers of The Night time Ministry, a nonprofit for individuals battling homelessness, poverty and loneliness, feasted on pies from La Crosta and Zazas Pizzeria.

a happy-looking young man in a t-shirt takes a slice of deep-dish pizza with a long cheese pull at Angie's Sports Bar and Pizzeria
A buyer enjoys a deep-dish pie at Angie’s.

Corso stated he grew up within the pizza enterprise—his grandfather, Angelo, based Angie’s in 1959. “As he was lastly constructing his dream restaurant and constructing out his bar, he handed away in 1974,” Corso stated. “My father, who was the eldest son, completed the undertaking and opened up Angie’s Sports activities Bar and Pizzeria when he was 16. Quickly after, he had 4 areas when he was in his 20s.”

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However a rising household made it more durable to maintain up with a multi-store operation. “He married my mom and began to have method too many youngsters, seven to be precise. They bought all of the areas apart from the unique one that also is in operation right now. My uncle runs Angie’s now, and it’s nonetheless a neighborhood spot with numerous historical past.”

Corso even had what he calls a “quick, embarrassing stint” at Kendall Culinary Faculty, hoping to take over the household restaurant sooner or later. However, he provides, humorously, “My father stated he would by no means rent me. It was most likely for one of the best.”

“Pizza, for me and my household, brings numerous pleasure and happiness,” Corso stated. “And residing in Chicago, we’re not wanting pizza locations…I wished to offer the identical alternative that I’ve to the homeless in Chicago.”

He even educates the individuals he serves concerning the artwork of pizza-making. Lots of them are “critics of pizza,” he says. “I give them the breakdown of tomatoes, sauce, toppings, various kinds of cheese and, most significantly, the kinds. Everybody loves pizza, and I’m simply pleased I can share one thing that I’m captivated with with those that are much less lucky.”