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Free pizza for those in need at eight Pizza Hut locations

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At Port Elgin’s Pizza Hut, you need only ask for food, and they’ll give it to you at no charge.

“If they are homeless or just looking for any kind of food, they’re just welcome to come and grab a pizza, and it’s on us,” said Pizza Hut Owner Hardik Soni.

For the past month, Soni has been offering free personal pizzas to those in need. The idea came to him several months ago.

“One night we found eight to ten people digging into the dumpster looking for pizza. I couldn’t sleep that night, and thought that I needed to do something in order to help,” said Soni, who moved to Owen Sound from India, via Saskatoon, in 2016.

He started the “Everyone Eats” program during the COVID-19 pandemic, but re-instituted it this winter in light of the growing homeless problem.

He’s giving away between 15 to 30 personal pizzas a day, not only in Port Elgin, but at all eight of his Pizza Hut stores. This includes locations in in Owen Sound, Midland, Penetanguishene, Allison, and Wasaga Beach. His goal is to give away between 50-80 pizzas at each store for as long as he can.

Pizza Hut owner Hardik Soni and his employees Guipreet Kaur and Sarbjeet Kaur take an order at the Port Elgin Pizza Hut location on Feb. 23, 2024. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)

“Yes, it’s costing me some money, but the communities have given me so much, maybe it’s time to give back,” he said.

Soni’s employees say the response to the “Everyone Eats” campaign has been amazing, with paying customers offering to “pay it forward” by pre-purchasing pizzas for those in need.

“We have a few people who come again and again, and their feedback is really gratefulness. It inspires us to do more for them,” said Port Elgin Pizza Hut employee Sarbjeet Kaur.

Soni had planned on ending his free pizza giveaway at the end of March, but said he’ll continue as long as the need is out there, and as long as community members continue to join in and help to pay it forward as well.

“Somebody needs to be part of the solution, instead of just focusing on the problem. So, I say, let’s just start and do our best,” he said.

Port Elgin Pizza Hut on Feb. 23, 2024. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)

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