[Photo, from L to R: Marlene Richter, Shelly Pagkalinawan, and Trevor Faraone]
The Shade Tree shelter in Las Vegas, Nevada has been providing services to women and children in crisis since 1989. They’ve helped countless women and children get back on their feet with medical assistance, safe shelter, educational opportunities, career support, and more. This year, the 41 Las Vegas Pizza Hut restaurants rallied together to give the Shade Tree a little extra help: the teams raised $17,000 throughout February and March, a donation which allowed the Shade Tree to serve the most survivors of domestic violence in the history of the agency.
Las Vegas Pizza Hut has always made it a priority to give back, and this year, they chose to focus fundraising for a local charity. Trevor Faraone asked the District Managers to vote on the cause they were most interested in supporting. When the Shade Tree was elected, the team took a tour of the shelter facility; it was a moving experience to understand the needs of women and children seeking shelter. The Shade Tree gives women escaping from abusive relationships an avenue to get back on their feet, including assistance in finding a job, a new place to live, and medical aid. Women are offered the chance to do mock interviews, invited to career fairs, and even have a place where family pets can stay.
The team members in restaurants were excited to support this cause. Though it’s difficult to estimate rates of domestic violence for a variety of reasons, it’s estimated that Nevada ranks among the top ten states for domestic abuse. The Shade Tree is a cause that hit home with customers and team members alike; the Shade Tree is well known in Las Vegas and people were inspired that their support would have a direct impact on the community.
The restaurant teams structured their fund-raising in much the same way Pizza Hut raises money for World Hunger Relief: donation canisters, posters, banners, and in-store promotion, as well as bake sales, car washes, chocolate bar sales, and more. The regional office designed donation cards for restaurants to put up acknowledging each generous customer donation. It was a herculean effort by all 41 Las Vegas restaurants, leading to massive impact. Some Restaurant General Managers stood above the rest, and we’re like to recognize Shelly Pagkalinawan, Jeremy Mallory, Jim Gore, Brandi Theisler, Debbie Glenn, and Mark Monti for their huge campaign results: Shelly’s restaurant raised over $1,600 alone!
Marlene Richter, Director of the Shade Tree, was blown away by the effort. In an email recognizing the teams’ hard work, she wrote, “I want you to know- we served the most victims of domestic violence in the history of the agency during this campaign. There is no price that I could put on this. Out of the ones that came to shelter, 96% of them stayed! You all have changed the future for so many people that live in Southern Nevada. Thank you so much for everything!” Great work by the teams in Las Vegas, and thank you for all you do to deliver hope!