As citizens, community organizations and businesses across the U.S. join together to fight hunger during Hunger Action Month in September, Papa Johns and The Papa John’s Foundation for Building Community today announced a goal to donate 10 million meals to those in need over the next five years. The new commitment will blend food donations, grants to hunger relief organizations and team member volunteer efforts that deepen the impact of long-standing work by Papa Johns, its franchise partners and the Foundation to build more food-secure families in the communities they serve.
“As a pizza company, Papa Johns is in a unique position to support a cause that our team members and franchise partners are passionate about – feeding our communities and, in particular, providing meals to those in the greatest need,” says Madeline Chadwick, SVP of Communications & Corporate Affairs at Papa Johns. “Throughout the company’s history, the Papa Johns family, in partnership with our hunger relief partners, has been on the ground to support the most vulnerable during challenging times, including in the wake of natural disasters as well as throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This new, bold goal is a demonstration of our commitment to eradicating hunger in our communities and our continued support of the organizations on the front lines of the hunger crisis.”
Papa Johns and the Foundation plan to deliver on their 10-million-meal goal through four strategic initiatives:
- Increasing the amount of surplus food donated by Papa Johns restaurants while also reducing food waste through an expansion of the Papa Johns Harvest Program. This program is a partnership with Food Donation Connection, which coordinates surplus food donations from Papa Johns restaurants, and has delivered 3.4 million meals to families since 2010;
- Providing grants from The Papa John’s Foundation to national non-profits, including a new partnership with The Farmlink Project, which connects farmers to food banks, as well as local organizations including Atlanta Community Food Bank, Concrete Jungle, Second Helpings Atlanta, Dare to Care Food Bank and Kentucky Harvest;
- Empowering Papa Johns franchise partners to deepen their legacies of fighting hunger through the Foundation’s Building Community Fund, a program for franchisees to award grants to local community organizations that in 2021 contributed nearly $1 million to more than 100 organizations in over 40 communities;
- Serving thousands of hot, fresh meals directly to those in need through in-kind donations of Papa Johns pizza.
“It is so important that businesses in the food industry offer their expertise to the fight against hunger, the way Papa Johns has done for so many years,” says Jim Larson, VP of Development at Food Donation Connection. Since 2010, Papa Johns has partnered with Food Donation Connection, which links food service businesses, who often have surplus food, to local hunger relief organizations so food waste is reduced in ways that benefit those in need. “By leveraging the passion of their people, as well as their vast retail footprint, Papa Johns has helped build a model for other similar businesses to follow. We look forward to helping Papa Johns expand Papa Johns Harvest Program as they work to reach their goal of 10 million meals donated over the next five years.”
“The causes of food insecurity are complex – and so must be the solutions,” says James Kanoff, Co-CEO of The Farmlink Project. “In every step of our country’s food supply chain, there is an opportunity to ensure viable food does not go to waste while people go hungry. The support of partners like Papa Johns is helping us build stronger links between farmers and organizations committed to reducing hunger, so that surplus produce can be repurposed into the meals that are critical for so many families.”
Papa Johns also offers its customers opportunities to join its team members and franchisees in tackling hunger. Since 2020, Papa Johns has collaborated with Shaquille O’Neal, a Papa Johns board member and franchisee, to offer customers “pizza with a purpose” – the Shaq-a-Roni. Through sales of the Shaq-a-Roni, Papa Johns has donated more than $6 million to The Papa John’s Foundation. The Papa John’s Foundation, in turn, has used these donations for charitable giving such as its Building Community Fund to support national nonprofit partners, including many who make hunger relief their core mission. More information about The Papa John’s Foundation for Building Community and its partners can be found at www.papajohns.com/foundation.