Don Gigliotti, owner of Corleone’s Pizzeria on Main Street, has been offering free pizza to individuals affected by layoffs in the food service industry. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)

South Okanagan restaurant owner’s generosity triggers waterfall of community support

Pizzeria owner Don Gigliotti has been offering free meals to laid off restaurant workers

Not because he has to, but because he can. A Penticton restaurant owner has taken it upon himself to support those suffering amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Don Gigliotti, owner of Corleone’s Pizzeria on Main Street, has been offering free pizza to individuals affected by layoffs in the food industry.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Who’s still open for business in Penticton?

Since then, not only has his offer been well-received, but other members of the community have also come out of the woodwork to offer their support.

Some have called for free pizza, some of called just to voice their support, and others have offered to drop off materials so Gigliotti can continue making free pizzas.

“Some people have even offered to donate products to me to make the pizzas; it’s been good,” he said. “Some of that stuff I never thought was going to happen.”

He said his decision to offer free pizza was two-fold; to help those who have lost their jobs, and also keep his workers employed.

“I’ve got a couple employees that are going to be on the unemployment line if I shut her down, so I want to keep them employed and try to help out some of the restaurant guys that got laid off,” said Gigliotti.

“(They) might be competitors, but it doesn’t really matter.”

The restaurant owner is offering free pizza to the unemployed until April 4. If he ends up giving away more than he anticipated, Gigliotti says he’s not too concerned.

He stressed that he’s trying to keep his offer reserved for those in the food industry, and added that when people call to place orders, he asks a few questions about where they worked.

“We’re all in the same game in the restaurant business, and it’s tough to begin with,” said Gigliotti.

He said the food service industry in Penticton can be difficult, especially with many pizza joints, before adding that the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t helping.

Around town, businesses are closing due to the pandemic.

“I know a couple of the take-out businesses, they’re just not going to fight it,” he said. “The way they look at it, it’s cheaper just to close down and don’t pay the wages. But you still have to pay the rent; my landlord isn’t coming to me with free rent.”

Staying positive, Gigliotti says, is key.

“You’ve got to be a positive person, number one,” he said. “That’s what I’m looking at. I’m a positive person and I can do this right now. I don’t know how long, but I can do it. And I will do it.”

Located at 625 Main Street, Corleone’s Pizzaeria is open Tuesday to Sunday 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., and until 9 p.m. Saturday.

READ MORE: AlleyCats in desperate need of foster homes

@PentictonNews
editor@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Update: Wildfire on Adams Lake band land near Chase classified as out of control

BC Wildfire Service reports Shuswap two-hectare fire is not threatening structures

Armed robbery of legal grow-op in Sicamous ends in arrest near Enderby

Residents alarmed over increased police presence Tuesday morning

VIDEO: Salmon Arm family in isolation rises to musical challenge

The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine used to share efforts to avoid spread of COVID-19

North Okanagan bands together in support against COVID-19

New group launches website with tools to help endure crisis

Shuswap residents, distiller respond to safety, sanitization needs at seniors care facilities

Sicamous’ After Dark Distillery shifts to making sanitizer to support community

WATCH: Salmon Arm artist hosts virtual art show amid COVID-19

Roxi Hermsen’s show “Into the Cosmos” is a tribute to her father Bill Sim

Bus rider who travelled to Golden tests positive for COVID-19

The passenger travelled from Calgary to Golden on March 15

COVID-19: Vernon homeless shelters combine in curling club

Gateway and Our Place shelter sites housed under one roof amid pandemic

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

‘Overwhelming, incredible’ support for foreign workers following West Kelowna COVID-19 outbreak

‘…Our team seems to be recovering well — symptoms are resolving’

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

RCMP pursuit in Okanagan Falls leads to arrest of Penticton man

Seamus Kirby of Penticton is facing numerous charges including flight from police

Most Read