Slices of American pie — Rich’s pizza pie that is — will reach nearly 10,000 troops serving in the Middle East in honor of America’s Independence Day and their service to our country.
This Fourth of July, DHL Express, Rich’s and Pizzas 4 Patriots are taking Independence Day celebrations abroad to the U.S. servicemen and women overseas. With a special delivery of 5,500 pizza pies, troops located in the furthest operating bases in Afghanistan and Kuwait will get a taste of home and a reminder of how much their service and patriotism is appreciated.
Pizzas 4 Patriots, a Chicago-based non-profit organization, was created in 2008 when Retired Master Sergeant Mark Evans and his son, Kent, had the idea to deliver freshly frozen pizzas to U.S. troops serving abroad to show appreciation for the troops’ service. Since 2008, Evans and his son have facilitated the delivery of more than one million “slices of home” to U.S. servicemen and women all over the world. Rich’s joined the team in 2015, and was instrumental in sending thousands of pizzas for soldiers to enjoy during the Super Bowl, and now for our nation’s Independence Day.
In early June, Rich’s Crest Hill, Illinois production team made 5,500 pizzas for the effort. Later that week, associates packaged the 16-inch frozen pizzas into 425 specially-designed, insulated containers in preparation for their long trek across the globe. Each container held 13 individually-wrapped pizzas, plus the 25 pounds of dry ice required to keep the pizzas frozen throughout the transport in the scorching Middle East summer heat. On Friday, June 12, 35 pallets of pizzas were loaded onto two DHL trucks, where the precious cargo was secured for the next leg of the trip. The perishable pies – which were re-iced along the route – made their way to Afghanistan and Kuwait on June 17 via a direct flight from the U.S. From there, DHL worked closely with the U.S. military to ensure door-to-door delivery throughout the region, just in time for Fourth of July festivities.
“It’s a huge endeavor, but after seeing the looks on the faces of our men and women in combat who have received these care packages in the past, I know it is well-worth the effort,” said Retired Master Sergeant Mark Evans, founder of Pizzas 4 Patriots. “I created Pizzas 4 Patriots to show my support and appreciation for U.S. servicemen and women, and I am grateful for the support of Rich’s and DHL Express for making this delivery possible.”
“This has truly become a labor of love which has been embraced by Rich’s associates, not only in Crest Hill, Illinois and in Buffalo, New York, but also around the world. It’s a very special and personal way that we can all show appreciation for our troops abroad. We’re thrilled to be a part of the effort, and we hope they will enjoy our pizzas,” said Matt Kush, Sr. Marketing Manager and Pizzas 4 Patriots project lead.