Dunwoody pizza restaurant owners Morgan and Lisa Maclellan have answered the call of their company’s founder to give back to the community. In August at the annual meeting of Your Pie franchisees, company founder Drew French challenged all Your Pie owners to give 1,000 pizza pies to help feed hungry families in their community during the coming year.
“Community is one of our core values,” said French, “because a responsible company gives back to the community. This challenge makes community involvement more formalized.”
This is French’s first organized challenge to his franchisees since he founded the company in Athens in 2008.
“Most of our franchisees are leaders in their community,” he said. “In a way, the challenge pools our resources to make our involvement more dynamic.”
Dunwoody residents Morgan and Lisa Maclellan had opened Your Pie Perimeter just a year before, but Lisa immediately began looking for a local Dunwoody charity that would benefit from the free pizzas.
After looking for a month, she heard about Family Promise of North Fulton/DeKalb at a networking event of the Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber of Commerce.
“I was really impressed at how they help,” she said.
Operating out of several churches and synagogues mainly in Dunwoody and Sandy Springs, but also in Roswell and Alpharetta, Family Promise provides shelter, hospitality, temporary assistance and case management for families with children experiencing situational homelessness.
All Family Promise guests receive overnight accommodations at a local congregation; three meals a day; intensive case management; a family day center with Internet access, laundry and showers; social support from volunteers; and linkage with needed social and educational services. The program generally gives families 90 days to regain their independence.
“Our goal is to provide a personal, customized pizza for dinner for every guest and volunteer at the host congregation every Sunday night,” said Maclellan. “We also hope to show how our pizzas can be part of healthy eating.”
Drew French founded Your Pie based on the traditional brick-oven pizza he enjoyed while on the Italian island of Ischia, the family home of his wife’s grandfather. Drawing on family recipes, Your Pie uses hand-tossed dough, fresh ingredients and homemade pizza sauces, with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. All pizzas are 10-inch personal size, customized by customers as they proceed through the ingredients bar.
The Maclellans make all of these choices available every week to the guests and volunteers of Family Promise of North Fulton/DeKalb. Family Promise Associate Director Paige Dillard takes personal orders from everyone at midweek. Then on Sunday evening, a volunteer goes to Your Pie Perimeter to pick up the order.
“Their pizzas are hot, fresh and delicious,” said Dillard. “Morgan and Lisa are accommodating to any allergies our guests have, and the pizzas are always ready for pick-up when we get there. They’re really giving us gourmet food for free.”
Pizza night is a treat for everyone at Family Promise. For the volunteer dinner hosts, who would otherwise be preparing the entire dinner at home and bringing it to serve at the host congregation, it’s a chance to relax and socialize with the guests. For the guests, who would otherwise eat whatever the host family provides, having the freedom to choose all the ingredients on their own pizza is a treat.
At the restaurant, in addition to personal pizzas and salads, Your Pie offers customers a selection of mainly local craft beer, a special interest of Morgan Maclellan.
“Craft beer is one of our passions,” he said. “Corporate gives us the recipes for the food, but we pick our own craft beers.”
The Maclellans say giving to Family Promise, an organization that serves families, complements the family culture of their restaurant.
“One of the things that attracted us to Your Pie ownership besides the amazing food is its family culture. Seven of our original team members are still with us,” said Lisa, pointing out a fact not characteristic of casual restaurants.
Family Promise is not the only recipient of free gourmet pizzas from Your Pie Perimeter. In December, the Maclellans donated the pizzas to the Dunwoody Police Christmas for Kids celebration at I Care Atlanta.
To reach their 1,000-pizza challenge, the couple is seeking other charities that would benefit from free pizzas. All inquiries are welcome.
“We’re humbled and excited to contribute like this,” said Lisa, “and to be part of this awesome community.”
Your Pie Perimeter also offers on-site community events such as Wednesday Trivia Night with a local trivia host, Thursday Pint Nights featuring a local craft brewery with special pricing of $3.14 (the mathematical value of pi) a pint and Sunday Funday with select beers for $3.14 a can. Your Pie Perimeter also holds events to benefit local charities. The next one is CHOA’s the Zone Fundraiser Night with Falcons star Patrick DiMarco on Tuesday, Jan. 31.
For details, go to Facebook.com/YourPieP or visit Your Pie Perimeter at 123 Perimeter Center West, Suite 200, at Perimeter Place in Dunwoody.