“A Heart for the Homeless” could be the main slogan for a quaint and small pizzeria in Fargo, North Dakota.
Back in 2015, Mike and Jennifer Stevens opened a Little Caesars franchise. Months after they opened the restaurant, they saw a homeless man sitting outside a gas station for several hours at a time.
Heart broken, Jennifer and her daughters, Sunday Stevens and Paige Loftus, knew they had to do something. “My daughters and I were looking out of the window and saying we should get him something,” Jennifer told Today Food. “We brought him a pizza. He was so thankful and so gracious. Then we ended up doing it again to a different person. And again for a different person. And again for another person.”
The Steven family’s act of kindness did not stop at individual slices. One year later, their kindness soared when the family realized many people were looking through the dumpster for scraps of food.
Mike realized he could not stand by and watch those experiencing homelessness starve, so he posted a sign on the restaurant door, reading:
“To the person going through our trash for their next meal, you’re a human being and worth more than a meal from a dumpster. Please come in during operating hours for a couple of slices of hot pizza and a cup of water at no charge. No questions asked.”
Their kindness changed gradually. The family went from giving away a couple of slices to giving away entire pizzas to those who could not afford a meal. Mike and Jennifer even began a partnership with a local homeless shelter, freezing dozens of pizzas for volunteers to pick up and deliver to the shelter.
According to Food Today, the family has given away over 142,000 slices of pizza, which is equivalent to $70,000. Although Mike lost his life to leukemia on December 1, 2017, his wife and children continue to give away free pizzas to the homeless.
To those whom share Mike and Jennifer’s vision for helping the homeless can visit their Go Fund Me Page.
“We are hoping to raise funding for the next year so we can keep donating pizzas to our beautiful community,” Jennifer said.
Overall, Jennifer continues to help those experiencing homelessness because she shares a heart for them just as her husband did. “He really, really pursued this,” she told Today. “It’s a small thing that we can do to bring a big difference in their day and it’s just kept going. You have to come together to help each other out. We just do it because it seems like the right thing to do.”