Paying it Forward: Chicken Joe’s & Needs Clearing House Pizza Dinner Raises Six-Figure Sum!

Joe Marini and Shortie

“Shortie” and Joe Marini take a break from a very busy pizza dinner fundraiser at Christ Church on Friday night. Credit: Leslie Yager

Chicken Joe, also known as Joe Marini teamed up with Joe Kaliko andFred Camillo of Needs Clearing House on a unique fundraiser Friday night. The two charities paired up to throw a pizza dinner fundraiser. From 4:00pm until 9:00pm, people streamed in to dine in or take-out.

All money raised from the pizza dinner will go to Chicken Joe’s Ride for Kids and The Needs Clearing House. Around 7:00pm Greenwich Free Press stopped by for a t-shirt, pizza and salad and had a chance to chat with Chicken Joe.

“I don’t have to ask twice,” Marini said of the virtual fleet of volunteers rushing around the kitchen and cafeteria at Christ Church. After giving Cori Nast of of Ginsberg’s Foods a hug, Marini mentioned that Ginsberg’s is also a big supporter of his not-for-profit Ride for Kids.

“He has the heart of this community,” said Cori Nast, who makes the trip from Danbury to Chicken Joe’s in Cos Cob twice a week. “Anybody who’s hurt or broken in some way… he’s doing something to help them,” she added.

cori

Cori Nast of Ginsberg’s, a food wholesaler, gives Joe Marini a big hug at the pizza dinner fundraiser. Credit: Leslie Yager

Gesturing to the dozen or so volunteers in the kitchen, Marini said, “All my volunteers are people I’ve helped. They’re paying it forward. This isn’t just about Chicken Joe’s. It’s a partnership.”

The pizza dinner fundraiser drew dozens of volunteers and hundreds of fans of pizza to Christ Church where Marini had tested the ovens at the church a few weeks ago to make sure the pizzas would be cooked to perfection. And they were.

Marini, who raises funds for multiple charities through Ride for Kids, had his staff close his Chicken Joe’s restaurant in Cos Cob at 3:00pm on Friday in order to work a second shift at the fundraiser.

As of Saturday morning, Joe Kaliko said they were still tallying results, but the event raised a sum well into six-figures!

sue and crew

Guys in the kitchen photo bombed a group photo organized by Susan Ambrosio. Credit: Leslie Yager

Tommy Keegan and friends

Tommy Keegan and friends at the pizza fundraiser at Christ Church on Friday night. The event raised well into the six-figures for Needs Clearing House and Joe Marini’s Ride for Kids. Credit: Leslie Yager

Chicken Joe's Charity Pizza sign

The pizza dinner fundraiser was a well-oiled machine, right down to the balloon, home made Chick’n Joe’s Charity Pizza sign. The organizers were even smart enough to station a volunteer on East Putnam Ave to direct cars into the parking lot. Credit: Leslie Yager

joe and chief heavey

Joe Kakilo of Needs Clearing House with Chief Heavey at Christ Church on Friday night. Credit: Leslie Yager

Joe Kaliko

Joe Kaliko, one of the founders of Needs Clearing House, who organized the pizza dinner as a fundraiser with Joe Marini’s Ride for Kids charity. Credit: Leslie Yager

pizza fundraiser, Fred Camillo

State Rep Fred Camillo who co-founded Needs Clearing House joined the pizza making crew who were busy in the kitchen at Christ Church on Friday night. Credit: Leslie Yager

pizza dinner fundraiser

At Christ Church dozens of tables were filled with families and friends enjoying Joe Marini’s pizza dinner. The fundraiser benefited Needs Clearing House and Ride for Kids. Credit: Leslie Yager

pizza dinner fundraiser

At Christ Church dozens of tables were filled with families and friends enjoying Joe Marini’s pizza dinner. The fundraiser benefited Needs Clearing House and Ride for Kids. Credit: Leslie Yager

pizza dinner fundraiser

At Christ Church dozens of tables were filled with families and friends enjoying Joe Marini’s pizza dinner. The fundraiser benefited Needs Clearing House and Ride for Kids. Credit: Leslie Yager

pizza dinner fundraiser

The pizza dinner fundraiser at Christ Church benefited Needs Clearing House and Ride for Kids. Credit: Leslie Yager


 

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