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Local restaurateur gives the gift of pizza for those in need

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REXBURG – The owner of a local pizza shop decided to celebrate National Pizza Day in a big way.

Bill Crawford, owner of Righteous Slice in Rexburg, participated in Pizza Across America on Wednesday, a nationwide campaign where pizza shops volunteer to donate at least 10 pizzas to a local shelter or soup kitchen.

With a small team on hand and four ovens prepped, Crawford set out to provide 100 pizzas for the Family Crisis Center.

“We’re doing an 18-inch New York Pizza and we’ve never made those in large quantities, so it’s kind of a new thing for us. We’re excited to give it a try,” Crawford told EastIdahoNews.com as the effort began.

The mammoth endeavor got underway a little after 11 a.m. and by noon he and his employees were just getting started.

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Crawford, who opened the restaurant with his wife three and a half years ago at 175 West 200 South inside Hemming Village, has a prior working relationship with the Family Crisis Center. He saw a unique opportunity to give back to the community through this campaign.

“We’ve done other events for charity fundraising but this is our first time working with them in this type of capacity,” he says. ”

The Family Crisis Center at 16 East Main Street serves hundreds of people in eastern Idaho with a variety of services. Its primary focus is helping victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking through weekly support groups and an emergency shelter for those in imminent danger. It also has a food bank and thrift store.

The food bank is one of the center’s most used services, which receives an average of 6,000 pounds of food donations weekly. About 200 families take advantage of it during the two days that it’s open.

picking up pizzas
Family Crisis Center advocate picking up a batch of pizzas at Righteous Slice. | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com

Marie Harris, the crisis center’s service and shelter coordinator, says she was amazed when Crawford reached out to her about the pizza campaign and is grateful for its impact on the community.

“We’ll have over 100 people come and participate today in that food bank,” Harris said after a batch of pizzas arrived. “It’s members of our community who just need a little extra help. Some are (college) students, some are families and there are quite a few senior citizens that also access the food bank.”

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As for the total pizza count, Crawford says they didn’t quite make it to 100. When the food bank closed at 1 p.m., he and his team had made nearly 50 and the need had been met.

Regardless of the amount, Crawford is thrilled with his team’s efforts and he’s grateful for the opportunity to give back to a community that he says has “been a blessing” for him and his family.

“The goal for us really is just to share some love and some generosity and goodwill,” Crawford says. “We don’t expect any of the people who get this pizza to know who we are or to come in (to the restaurant). Hopefully, it will be a blessing in their lives.”

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