Given its history, it’s no surprise that California Pizza Kitchen has close ties to the Southern California community.
Founded in Beverly Hills, the restaurant chain boasts more locations in SoCal than any other region. Therefore, teaming up with the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firefighter’s Fund seemed like a perfect match.
“We’re always big supporters of our first responders, so it was an automatic yes with us to partner up,” said Trayza Keilty, regional marketing manager of California Pizza Kitchen.
The Pizza with a Delicious Purpose fundraising event was held on May 29th and 30th and 20% of dine-in and take-out sales from patrons dining in support of our L.A. firefighters’ charity were donated to the organization.
“We had over 40 locations participate in a two-day event raising funds and awareness of this awesome organization and how they support firefighters and their families,” Keilty explained.
Firefighters Unite in Support of LAFD
Participating locations were throughout California, as well as some in Nevada and Arizona. Many LAFD answer the call of duty not only here in the Greater Los Angeles area, but also as part of response teams to major disasters and incidents across the country.
“It was truly amazing to see the outpouring of support across city and state lines,” said Marlene Casillas, the charity’s Development & Marketing Director. “We could not be more grateful to California Pizza Kitchen for their incredible generosity. This is by far the largest restaurant fundraiser we’ve ever had the privilege to participate in and we enjoyed the partnership so much.”
Local firefighters and their supporters got in on the fundraising action, serving as waiters in some locations and even making pizzas in others.
“Each restaurant has a personal relationship with their own local first responders. One guest in Seal Beach – this was his own project – transformed his personal golf cart into a fire engine. The kids loved it,” Keilty said.
CPK Fundraiser: All in a Day’s Duty
In San Diego, firefighters came to the local restaurant, worked the shifts, took orders, and ran food, including CPK’s signature pizzas, salads, and pastas.
Other locations had fire engines pull up in front as a sign of support. Far too often fire engines are associated with response situations, so it was a great way to show visibility and remind everyone that firefighters are a part of the community they serve.
In total, more than $8,000 was raised over the two-day event for the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firefighter’s Fund, which serves as the official charity for the Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association.
But Keilty said that CPK’s support of the Firefighter’s Fund doesn’t end there.
“I know that we will be continuing the partnership and letting it flourish. If there’s an injured or fallen firefighter — any way we can support locally through the restaurant to donate food — we would like to be the first ones to let them know that whatever they need,” she explained. “We are there.”
By Lawrence Yee