Opinion: Community is the greatest gift this holiday season
By Domenic Primucci, President, Pizza NovaFeatures Business and Operations Community involvment
Pizzerias are well known for supporting their local communities in their activities and charitable needs. Domenic Primucci, president of Pizza Nova in Ontario, shares his thoughts ahead of the holiday season on the importance of giving back and building into your business a culture of community involvement.
The holiday period is a time of joy – a cherished season that beckons spending time with loved ones, surrounded by food and, more often than not, gifts. But ask anyone who has lost a loved one, the season can also be a time that highlights the scarcity or personal losses and setbacks that we face in our present day. A look at the news, today, it’s clear we’re also facing challenging economic times. Many of us are choosing to tone things down this year when it comes to our festivities. This year, more than ever, will be a hard year for most Canadians, but for different reasons than we saw during the pandemic. As food prices soar, and inflation continues to increase, many people must make the hard decision to cut back. It is no surprise that food banks cannot keep up with demand, and that families are turning to charitable organizations to ensure there are gifts under the tree.
In the weeks leading up to the holiday period, I’m asking my team, and own family, to consider the real meaning of community: the coming together of people and the importance of this. I believe a strong community is the answer to getting through this season. We simply do not know the impact the current environment may be having on our families, loved ones, friends, acquaintances – and strangers. We know cutting back is a must for everyone – but cutting out community support is not the answer.
The first step is to check in with your local hospital, school, shelter, community or faith-based organization to see if they can direct your energy or interests – to participate in food drives, volunteer, donate clothes or toys you are no longer using.Advertisement
As a young boy, I saw firsthand how community helped build businesses, feed families and, ultimately, improve or even save lives. Christmas time was about being together – because that’s what we had. Being part of a supportive community made all the difference, especially when everyone pitched in.
Time and time again we see how in uncertain times, it’s because of community that people in need have pulled through. Indeed, the community has helped people survive tough periods like the one we are living through right now.
Being grounded in my community gave me purpose growing up, and that’s why doing the same with those around me and our brand’s franchisees has become an essential element of our business and Pizza Nova culture. This year we continue our partnership with SickKids on a new initiative from which funds will help build a new state-of-the-art hospital and patient support buildings, continue breakthrough research, and build partnerships across the country.
We all watch the news and understand the need to be budget conscious, but there are many gestures beyond an outlay of cash that can build up members within a community. The first step is to check in with your local hospital, school, shelter, community or faith-based organization to see if they can direct your energy or interests – to participate in food drives, volunteer, donate clothes or toys you are no longer using. But even beyond that, let’s all take a few moments in silence, away from the noise and clutter of our everyday lives, to see whom in our close circles and networks, is suffering and in need of a sign that someone cares for them. You never know, perhaps even the smallest act will make the greatest difference.
Domenic Primucci is president of Pizza Nova, a Toronto-based family-owned and -operated pizzeria chain with more than 150 locations in southern Ontario, which grew from a small corner pizzeria his father and uncles opened in Toronto in 1963. He has received numerous honours over the years and has been the lead in Pizza Nova’s charitable fundraisers, events and ongoing pizza and monetary donations to many organizations. Two of the charities closest to his heart are Villa Charities Foundation and Variety Village, The Children’s Charity.
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