“Papa’s in the (Salvation Army) house!”

Approximately 800 volunteers from Papa John's united to help The Salvation Army of Orlando

The following was contributed by guest blogger Vicki Hastings, Public Relations Coordinator at The Salvation Army Metro Orlando.

Delicious pizza and Doing the Most Good? Papa John’s International is one amazing company!

On March 5, The Salvation Army of Orlando experienced the blessings of this popular pizza chain when Papa John’s volunteers and employees representing 31 countries united in Orlando for one purpose- to help The Salvation Army.

No one can envision what over 800 volunteers looks like until it happens. As 18 Mears buses pulled up and 829 volunteers spilled out onto the property, the parking lot became a sea of green shirts and helping hands. Papa John’s team leaders were on-site giving high fives as people arrived and the DJ was blasting “Taking Care of Business” among other high-energy tunes to get everyone pumped up.

Volunteers helped put in beautiful new landscaping!

After everyone had arrived, Papa John himself, John Schnatter, with help from a Salvation Army staff member, announced that “Papa’s in the house” and encouraged everyone to work hard and give back. One thing’s for sure—Papa was in the house, and the garden, and the playground, and the Catherine Booth Towers, and in every other building on The Salvation Army campus.

"Papa's in the house!" Papa John Schnatter makes some opening remarks.

Every building exterior was power-washed and beautifully landscaped, all vehicles washed and waxed, rooms were cleaned and organized, chairs reupholstered, carpets were removed, a community garden built, and 75 bikes assembled. At one time, 261 volunteers were painting and 170 were landscaping. Papa John, himself, worked alongside his employees painting and later built a lawn mower and took it outside and did some much appreciated lawn mowing.

“When’s the last time you saw the CEO of an international, multi-billion dollar company pushing a lawn mower?” Salvation Army Advisory Board member Tracy Richardson remarked.

Papa John got down and dirty for The Salvation Army!

The most transformational project occurred in the “backyard” of the Women’s and Children’s Shelter where a brand new playground, benches, privacy fence, and mural were completed. 30 projects and four hours later, a block party was held and over 1,000 pizzas were served to the community. Besides pizza, the community enjoyed snow cones, cotton candy, an illusionist, a caricaturist, games, and plenty of fellowship.

Papa John’s International certainly delivered more than pizza that day.

In total, those 829 volunteers logged close to 4,000 volunteer hours and nearly $55,000 worth of supplies and materials were purchased by Papa John’s: 2,325 bags of mulch, 250 pairs of work gloves, 380 paint brushes and rollers, 225 gallons of paint, 75 bicycles, locks, and helmets, and 43 ladders!

“We are blown away by our experience with the Papa John’s team. It was so wonderful to see so many working to help us improve the facilities we use to serve others every day. I never imagined I would see anyone of the caliber and notoriety of John Schnatter mowing the lawn in front of The Salvation Army. He exemplifies the community-driven approach of his corporation which we so clearly saw throughout this project.” Major Andrew Kelly, Metro Orlando Area Commander

From everyone at The Salvation Army: Thank you, Papa John’s for your amazing generosity and example of service!

  • Click here to see all of the pictures on Facebook!
  • Click here to visit The Salvation Army of Orlando’s website.

Volunteers pause from painting the mural to pose for the camera.

Volunteers of all ages came out to help!

Visit www.facebook.com/salvationarmyorlando to see the finished mural!