When The Crier first interviewed Morgan and Lisa Maclellan, owners of the Your Pie Perimeter pizza restaurant in Perimeter Place shopping center in Dunwoody, they were halfway through the challenge given to all Your Pie franchisees at the company’s annual meeting last August to give away 1,000 pizzas to feed hungry families in their community before the next annual meeting.
The Maclellans met the challenge and then some. As a result, at the company’s annual meeting last week in Athens, they were the sole recipients of the “Your Pie Community Engagement Award.”
“We were honored,” said Lisa Maclellan. “And now that we’ve reached this goal, we’re going to keep going by giving back in other ways.”
The Maclellans chose as their first recipients Family Promise of North Fulton/DeKalb, headquartered at St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church in Dunwoody.
Operating out of several churches and synagogues mainly in Dunwoody, Sandy Springs and Roswell, Family Promise provides shelter, hospitality, temporary assistance and case management for homeless families with children.
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.
Every week for the duration of the challenge, the Maclellans provided Sunday night dinner – a personal, customized pizza – for every guest and volunteer at the host congregation. They plan to continue the Family Promise pizza night even though the challenge is officially over.
Meeting the 1,000-pizza giveaway challenge required them to expand beyond Family Promise.
“We wanted to make a local initiative and reached out through Facebook, the Dunwoody police and the City Council to see where we could feed hungry kids in need,” said Maclellan. “We didn’t want to take a cookie cutter approach.”
Other recipients of the free pizzas included the families staying at the Sandy Springs Ronald McDonald House while their sick children were hospitalized nearby.
The Marist School provided them with more needy recipients by connecting them to LaAmistad, through which they provided summer lunch to a nearby elementary school, where the majority of the kids were in the free lunch program during the school year.
“These weren’t left-over pizzas,” said Maclellan. “They were hot and fresh, made specifically for these kids. We made them the same delicious pizzas we make for our paying customers and even accommodated allergies.”
Your Pie Perimeter offers 10-inch personal-size pizzas that patrons customize with a wide variety of ingredients as they move along the toppings bar. The dough is hand tossed for evenness, and the pizzas are cooked in a brick oven to lock in the flavor.
“We offer an endless amount of ordering opportunities,” said Maclellan. “We also have paninis, salads and craft beer.”
Your Pie Perimeter also prides itself on its family culture for both patrons and staff. General Manager Andrew Gehrhardt and five of their other team members have been with the Maclellans since they opened in 2015
Though the pizza challenge is over, the Maclellans are planning a Day of Giving for late fall, which may involve more than just pizzas.
“It might be more of a hybrid,” said Maclellan.
No matter how it turns out, it will definitely involve local organizations.
“We’re always looking for ways to make a contribution to the community we serve,” said her husband and business partner, Morgan, “because we wouldn’t be here without our community.”
“Giving back is in our DNA,” said Maclellan.
The Maclellans said they’re always looking for good people to join their team.
“We treat one another with respect,” said Maclellan, “and don’t take ourselves too seriously.”
For information, go to Facebook.com/YourPie or visit Your Pie Perimeter at 123 Perimeter Center West, Suite 200.