COAL CITY – The Little Caesars Love Kitchen was churning out pizzas Wednesday from about 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for volunteers and families affected by the EF3 tornado that struck Coal City on June 22.
The Love Kitchen travels across the continental United States and Canada, meeting the needs of the hungry, the homeless and disaster survivors.
Local Little Caesars franchise owners and company regional offices donate all food and labor costs for the Love Kitchen servings.
Jim Back said his daughter runs Little Caesars franchises in Bourbonnais and Kankakee, and intends to open a location soon in Diamond.
“It’s a pizza store on wheels,” Back said of the Love Kitchen. “The company has two in the country.”
Before the tornado struck, the Love Kitchen was scheduled to make a stop at The Salvation Army in Kankakee, Back said.
A plan was put into place, allowing the Love Kitchen to serve Coal City, while The Salvation Army operation is carried out by Back’s Bourbonnais and Kankakee stores.
“It’s the right thing to do,” Back said. “I wish we had the Love Kitchen here from day one.”
Alison Tune of the AmeriCorps St. Louis Emergency Response Team has been in Coal City since June 27. Tune and Emily Stursma of the Conservation Corps Iowa picked up two stacks of pizzas from the Love Kitchen and brought them to volunteers they’ve been leading.
Tune said the groups have helped many homeowners while leading volunteer crews.
She’s impressed with the community. AmeriCorps is scheduled to leave town Friday.
“Coal City is amazing,” Tune said. “It’s a lot of neighbors helping neighbors.”