December 21, 2014

Elyria
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Pizza truck serves low-income families in Elyria

Jeremy Pelc, owner of the Elyria Little Caesars, 716 Broad St., carries an armload of pizza boxes from the Love Kitchen tractor-trailer. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

Jeremy Pelc, owner of the Elyria Little Caesars, 716 Broad St., carries an armload of pizza boxes from the Love Kitchen tractor-trailer. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

ELYRIA — It has served warm pizza to more than 2 million people in need in 48 states and on Monday, Little Caesars’ Love Kitchen found its way to 716 Broad St., Elyria.

Sincer Young, 12, of Elyria, enjoys pizza from the Love Kitchen.

Sincer Young, 12, of Elyria, enjoys pizza from the Love Kitchen.

More than 75 people showed up at the Salvation Army in Elyria on Monday morning. For an hour and a half, Salvation Army workers and Little Caesars employees and volunteers served 40 free pizzas to low-income families, with food provided by the Little Caesars restaurant down the street.

“They’ve been real good to us. Everybody enjoyed it,” Salvation Army employee Michael Velez said.

The Love Kitchen, owned and operated by Little Caesars, has been around for almost 30 years, according to Little Caesar’s spokeswoman Jennifer Arapoff. It travels around the country every day, stopping to serve free pizza three or four times a week. It also has served victims of disasters across the country including hurricanes, 9/11 and recent tornadoes in Oklahoma, Arapoff said.

The visit was a first for Elyria. The Salvation Army on Broad Street hosts a week-long soup kitchen each month and has had help from Little Caesars at 127 Broad St. in the past.

Velez said the turnout was more than the soup kitchen normally sees, with passers-by noticing the truck and stopping for a free slice or two.

Arapoff said Elyria was chosen as many other communities are — through a recommendation from the manager of a local church, Salvation Army or Little Caesars branch.

“There’s a great need for it. It’s really just meeting the basic needs of those folks who are in need,” she said, adding that Little Caesars tries to send the Love Kitchen to the areas that need free food the most. “It is always full to the brim.”

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.