Sweet corn pizza? What started with a photo of a unique pizza turned into a fundraiser for the Grinnell Food Coalition.
Joey Pagliai, who owns and operates Pagliai’s Pizza along with his wife Haylee, sent a picture of a sweet corn pizza using fresh corn from Olson Garden Market. From there, the idea hatched.
“We were excited and surprised when Joey sent the picture of this special pizza,” says Kerri Olson, co-owner of Olson’s Garden Market with her husband Brian. “Our partner Roger VanDonselaar, who owns and works the land where we grow our sweet corn, mentioned the idea of using Joey’s sweet corn pizza as a fundraiser.”
VanDonselaar and his wife, Teresa Coon, MD, have been partners with Olson Garden Market for two years.
“After asking Olson Garden Market if they would be willing to sell us corn for our specialty pizza, they asked if we would donate $2 a pizza to support the local food coalition,” Pagliai says. “It was a no brainer and we were so excited to give back, to such a good cause.”
Olson Garden Market has been a Grinnell Farmers Market vendor for 10 years. Olson explains “We’ve noticed an increase this year in the use of food assistance programs such as SNAP/EBT, Double Up Food Bucks, and new this year the Grinnell Food Coalition Vouchers.”
“When Roger mentioned a fundraiser, the first organization I thought of was the Grinnell Food Coalition, because I had been seeing these vouchers from customers at farmers market,” Olson says. “The Grinnell community supports us tremendously, from our farmer’s market customers to local restaurants and grocery stores. We wanted to give back to the community that supports us.”
Olson reached out to the Grinnell Food Coalition and Joey Pagliai about the three entities working together – “and it all just fell into place, and it was a trifecta win!” Olson says.
Delphinia Baumann and Deanna Shorb co-chair the fundraising efforts for Grinnell Food Coalition. “When Kerri approached us with the idea, we thought it would be a great way to kick off the fundraising campaign,” Baumann says.
Every sweet corn pizza sold during the one-week period gave $2 to the Grinnell Food Coalition, through this and other donations $1,000 was raised for Grinnell Food Coalition.
“I was raised to give back if I am able. We know so many people are in need, and we are very fortunate to be doing so well, during these times. It makes us even more appreciative than we already are,” Pagliai says.
“We recognize that some families and individuals may need help due to COVID-19. And now in the aftermath of the derecho storm, it may be even more compounded. We would like to encourage others, if able, to donate too,” Olson adds.
“We are so proud to be a part of a community that supports community,” Olson says. “Grinnell has always been a unique place that supports each other and those in need. Stay strong Grinnell you go this!”
The Grinnell Food Coalition was formed to address food insecurity issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is their mission to provide reliable resources and guidance during these uncertain times. It has put together a resource guide containing local, state and federal information on food assistance, mental health and wellness services and financial resources. To download the resource, go to: https://ahrensfamilyfoundation.org/local-resources. Grocery vouchers are also available. Grocery vouchers may be redeemed only in Grinnell at the following locations: Fareway, HyVee, McNally’s, Grinnell Farmers Market, Grinnell Farm to Table, or with farmers affiliated with Local Foods Connection.
Tax deductible contributions can be made online https://ahrensfamilyfoundation.org/local-resources
or sent by mail to:
Grinnell Food Coalition
P.O. Box 284
Grinnell, IA 50112
Residents may call 641.236.5518, ext. 109 or email firstname.lastname@example.org