Kettering pizza shop proves helping neighbors can be delicious

Gary Leasure, owner of Junior’s Pizza, Wings and Subs in Kettering. CONTRIBUTED.
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Gary Leasure, owner of Junior’s Pizza, Wings and Subs in Kettering. CONTRIBUTED.

Help can come in all shapes and sizes — that includes a square pizza box.

Gary Leasure, owner of Junior’s Pizza Wings and Subs in Kettering, has put together a program he calls “Feeding Kettering” to help pull his community through the coronavirus pandemic the best way he knows how.

Leasure’s goal is to give away at least 25 free pizzas every day from 5 p.m. to close, no questions asked. He hopes to feed 75 to 100 people every day who might be hurting financially.

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Forced to lay off all employees when dine-in establishments were closed earlier this month, Leasure has also used the donations to bring back more than 40% of the shop’s workforce.

“My commitment is to double the amount of food that the donations pay for,” Leasure said. “If we raise enough money to pay for 50 pizzas, I come out of pocket to pay for the other 50 pizzas. Whatever it is that we can do to help the community. The more money we raise, the more good we can do.”

Basically, Leasure’s idea is — the more dough, the more pizza dough. And the outporing of support from Kettering and the Miami Valley has been huge, Leasure said.

“I don’t care what your job is these days, everybody’s got to be on egg shells about what’s going to happen next,” he said. “So seeing that kind of support from the community is just awesome and I’d love to do more.”

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As of Tuesday, the program raised about $750 in a little over a week, with hundreds of free pizzas given away to the community.

“I want to help bring my employees back to work and to help feed those in our community that need a warm meal for their families,” Leasure said.

Leasure’s parents founded the local non-profit organization, Transient Veterans of Dayton, in 2005 , to help homeless veterans at the Dayton VA Center.

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“That just kind of opened my eyes a long time ago about helping others,” Leasure said. “So when this all came about, I had to let all my employees go as well. … I was then worried not only for my friends in the business but obviously the people who have helped me out the most over the years, my employees.”

To donate to the program, visit the Junior's Pizza Wings and Subs - Feeding Kettering Facebook page or by phone when calling in an order.

“We just want to help everybody get through this,” Leasure said.

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