When a firefighter walks into the Studio City California Pizza Kitchen down the street from his station, it’s rarely just to sit down and grab a slice. General Manager Jane Korpob says the firefighters usually show up when it counts – when their local CPK is hosting a promotion or event to help out a school or a charity.

“They’ll come in to come support, but they rarely come by and sit down to a meal,” Korpob said of her restaurant’s nearby firefighters who usually eat at the station so they can be ready for the next emergency call. “These firefighters don’t get a lot of time to go out to eat.”

All that changed in June, however, when Korpob and the Studio City CPK generously hosted a celebration luncheon for the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund team that ran in the 2017 Los Angeles Marathon. The lunch was a way to repay the firefighters, family and friends who each ran 26.2 miles or nearly half that in the special, charity relay and raised close to $33,000 for the charity. CPK donated the food and the space to honor the team and their family members who did such an incredible job for our firefighter charity.

“The main reason is that these guys – men and women – give so much back to our community and it’s something we could do to give back to them,” Korpob said.

CPK is committed to philanthropy through their charitable fundraisers and Kindness Fund

Korpob says this sort of philanthropy is not unusual for CPK. In fact, at California Pizza Kitchen, kindness is simply baked into their recipe for success. The company has a Kindness Fund where employees can donate money directly from their paychecks to help their coworkers in need. In the case of a financial emergency caused by a catastrophe or crisis, the Kindness Fund is there to help. A committee reviews applications for the fund and selects recipients for the donations based on need.

The Fund is no small accomplishment – CPK has about 14,000 employees spread out through more than 200 locations in 32 states – and it has the power to change lives. When Korpob’s nephew, who worked at the CPK in Pasadena, was killed while trying to rescue someone from a car crash, she learned firsthand the value of the Fund. The Kindness Fund helped her family pay for funeral expenses and get through a tough time.

“It’s one of those things – you don’t expect it but when it does happen it’s amazing that it’s there,” Korpob said. “A lot of people don’t even know about it until something bad happens.”

General Manager, Jane Korpob

CPK supports our Los Angeles firefighter charity

When she learned about our firemen’s fund, which helps the families of firefighters injured or killed in the line of duty or facing other crisis, she wanted to pay the kindness forward. Korpob’s brother also ran in the L.A. Marathon so she knows the blood, sweat and effort our firefighter charity team put into raising money for the cause. At the luncheon in June, Korpob treated the team and their families to all they could eat.

“People always reach first responders when something is bad, but we wanted to reach out and let them know we can also help in so many ways,” Korpob said. “You’ve got to look for the good in the world to make it better.”

By Kate Cagle