Kathy Azverde and her sister Colleen Mooney, co-owners of the Cranston House of Pizza in Knightsville, had a lot to be thankful for last week. For the fourth consecutive year, since opening the restaurant, their Thanksgiving Food Drive was a huge success.
"We were shooting to fill 25 food baskets for CCAP and we ended up with enough food for 26," said Azverde. "There is so much generosity from our customers, it's overwhelming."
The food drive runs like a well-oiled machine, with Azverde's husband Keith saving boxes in the kitchen from deliveries to fill with the donated foods, Mooney doing some additional shopping and the fourth graders in Deb Stravato's class at Hope Highlands making turkey decorations for the boxes. Stravato is a friend of Azverde's, and upon finding that Stravato was willing to have her class help out with the decorating, she was thrilled.
"I used to trace my own hand to make turkeys for every box," said Azverde, noting that connecting with Stravato and her class has been a great time-saver for her, and has made the boxes look even more beautiful.
Each box is filled with two of every item, a complete meal in every box: potatoes, corn, carrots, peas, yams, green beans, stuffing, gravy, dessert and a gift card for a turkey. The gift cards for each basket are donated from Azverde and Mooney.
"Things are tight for everyone, but we have so many regular customers and they brought in bags and bags of donations every time they came in," Azverde said.
As a thank you to Stravato's class, they will be having a pizza party with pizza from the restaurant.
"Deb said that so many of the students gave up their recess time to get more turkeys colored and decorated," she said. "The kids feel good about it too, it's good for them to learn that people do have to go without."
Now that Thanksgiving has passed and CCAP has picked up the donations, Cranston House of Pizza is looking ahead to their biggest drive of the year: their Holiday Toy Drive, which also includes toys, hats, coats and mittens, all to benefit CCAP. The drive runs in the same manner as the food drive, with customers providing the bulk of the items donated.
"That's our big drive. Last year we had a whole truckload," said Azverde.
Anyone wishing to participate in the upcoming Holiday Toy Drive should contact Cranston House of Pizza for more information at 942-7100.