SOUTH LAWNDALE — Home Run Inn is dishing out 10,000 free frozen pizzas this year to Chicagoans in need in celebration of its 75th birthday.
Home Run Inn’s thin-crust, tavern-style pizzas will be served up to Chicagoans experiencing homelessness, older people and low-income families, according to a news release.
The first frozen pizza giveaway will be held 10 a.m.-noon Thursday at Home Run Inn’s original location, 4254 W. 31st St.
Pizzas will be routinely distributed to the city’s community service centers, senior centers, early childhood learning centers and homeless shelters, according to a news release.
The 10,000 pizzas can feed up to 40,000 people, said Gina Perrino Bolger, Home Run Inn’s senior vice president of marketing. Her family started the business.
“We wanted to give back to the community for our birthday, and this is the most fitting,” Bolger said. “Pizza is for everyone. Pizza brings people together. When we’re feeding people, it’s about the memories and the experience.”
Bolger said Home Run Inn was built on a tradition of free pizza. Her great-grandfather, Nick Perrino, opened the first Home Run Inn tavern in 1947 on 31st Street. Instead of serving popcorn and dry pretzels at the bar, he knew a “backwards pizza recipe from Bari, Italy,” Bolger said. Home Run Inn gave free pizzas as bar snacks for patrons to enjoy alongside their beers.
In the late 1940s and 1950s, Perrino often partnered with community centers around 31st Street to donate pizzas to those in need, Bolger said.
Home Run Inn now has nine pizzerias in the Chicagoland area and sells frozen pizzas in more than 40 states.
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