CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. (CW69 News at 10)– You don’t see the kind of activity that took place by a hospital loading dock on a Tuesday afternoon everyday.
Several volunteers made fresh pizzas in a little wood-burning oven that was mounted on a small Italian truck outside the Northside Hospital in Cherokee County on May 26, 2020.
The Atlanta Pizza Truck partnered with Taste of Italy in Woodstock to serve hundreds of front line hospital workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve seen what has happened so far, and we would like to give back to our community,” said the truck’s owner, Alessio Lacco. “Being a pizza maker, the best thing to do is make pizza for the health care workers.”
“I’m so happy to help the community, because in the last couple of months, as you know, everything was locked down,” said Taste of Italy Owner Giancarlo Schiano.
They say they’re thankful for all the customers who have kept them in business during the pandemic, and they say this is also their way of paying it forward.
“We all have to work like a big family here in Cherokee County,” Schiano said.
They used Lacco’s wood-burning stove to make 500 pizzas right there in the back lot. Lacco said the oven’s temperature can reach up to 900 degrees and cook pizzas in less than 1.5 minutes. They made Neapolitan-Style pizzas using fresh dough, cheese, basil and tomato.
Just as fast as the pizzas came out of the oven, the team boxed them up, and a staff member wheeled them inside the hospital to the front line workers waiting for them.
Administrators say it’s taken every ounce of manpower to meet the demands brought on by the pandemic there and at countless other hospitals.
“It’s been a tremendous challenge. The staff is having to work with patients that they have not been familiar working with in the past. They may have loved ones or family members or friends that may be sick,” said Northside Hospital Cherokee CEO Billy Hayes.
A Northside Hospital system spokesperson says the Cherokee County location has more than 2,800 employees and more than 1,000 physicians. She also said about 800 of them work on the hospital’s front lines during a normal day shift.
Administrators say it’s all the more reason why they’re thankful for all who have provided meals.
“We’ve been very blessed here in Cherokee County to have a lot of industry, to have a lot of restaurants, and a lot of people come and offer and do things to help our staff and show some support,” Hayes said, adding all of the Northside hospitals have seen this kind of support as well. “It’s been a real morale lift for them.”
The Northside system spokesperson also issued this statement:
We have never been more grateful and proud to serve this community. In recent weeks, we have been overwhelmed with support from the community in the form of food, letters and other shows of appreciation. It means more than any words could express.
Pizza makers Lacco and Schiano say this was just their first stop.
Just like other businesses who have volunteered their services, they say they plan to take their hospitality to other hospitals, serving those who sacrifice so much to serve others.
Hayes also said it’s safe for the public to come back to hospitals, as he said they are following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to make sure staff and patients are taken care of.