Leonardo’s trying to give everyone a piece of the pie

Mmm … cheese, pesto, onions, sun-dried tomatoes … and charity? Leonardo’s Pizza has added a tasteless ingredient to the new recipe of its award-winning pizza, a donation to the Women Helping Battered Women Campaign.As of Jan. 1 of this year, Leonardo’s will donate three percent of the profits from their Pesto Feta Mediterranean pizza to Women Helping Battered Women (WHBW). The medium pizza is $14.25 and the large pizza is $17.95. WHBW contacted Leonardo’s Pizza at the end of last year, looking for a local business to work with, said Sara Byers, vice president of Leonardo’s Pizza and daughter of Phil George, the chef who created Leonardo’s.”We were really psyched to participate and help … a problem that most [people] don’t really realize,” Byers said. WHBW works to end domestic violence against women and children and serve as a catalyst for social change, promoting systems that foster justice, equity and safety, according to their Web site.Leonardo’s is not new to working with local charitable organizations. Leonardo’s often helps out with the local schools, explained Byers. “This kinda takes it to the next level for us,” Byers said of their partnership with WHBW.Leonardo’s Pizza relies on its owner and chef to create the recipes for Leonardo’s Pizza, like the vegetarian pizza created for this project. “He’s such a visionary when it comes to food. He creates a vision in his head and has the people at the shop try it out,” Byers said.Leonardo’s Pizza continues to keep their options open when it comes to giving back to the community. “We’re going to see how this works,” Byers said. “We want it to be worthwhile for the charity we are donating to. This is a trial run for us in 2009. If all goes well, then definitely yes.”Other local businesses whose customers are often University of Vermont students are receptive to the idea of donating the profits of an item menu to a local charitable organization.”This is the first I’ve heard about [their partnership],” Chris Hathaway, of New World Tortilla, said when asked if New World would consider a similar project as Leonardo’s. “I haven’t been approached by [WHBW], but I’d definitely be interested in doing something like that,” he said. “It sounds like a good cause … It’s great that local businesses are getting involved,” Paige Gunning said while working at the Feel Good stand in the Davis Center tunnel. Feel Good combats hunger by donating all of its profits to the Hunger Project and Millennium Promise.Leonardo’s Pizza is not the only local business stepping up, either. The Vermont Brownie Company has teamed up with WHBW this Valentine’s Day to help end domestic violence in Chittenden County, according to the WHBW Web site.The company will be donating 10 percent of the profits from its limited edition Valentine’s Day Gift box to WHBW.quick facts :Women helping battered womenWomen Helping Battered Women served 4,576 individuals (1,874 adults and 2,702 children).WHBW provided emergency shelter to 113 women and 66 children for a total of 3,909 bednights.The WHBW economic justice and emergency shelter staff provided 290 hours of housing advocacy in the emergency shelter and in the community.An average of 26 new women called the hotline each month, accessing emergency services and receiving support for the first time.Four hundred nintey-six adults and 460 children were assisted with filing for relief from abuse orders. WHBW legal advocates provided 1,844 hours of legal advocacy.Two hundred fifty-seven children received services at WHBW in the form of playgroups, individual support, advocacy and shelter service.The hotline fielded 3,039 calls, assisting individuals in crisis and offering access to emergency services along with support and referrals.Over 5,075 individuals were reached through more than 182 outreach events and workshops.Ninety-six percent of the people WHBW served live in Chittenden County.Volunteers provided over 5,823 hours of service: the equivalent of nearly 3 full-time positions. At $15.00/hour and up – without benefits – this contribution would be valued at approximately $87,725. This figure is equivalent to 8.2 percent of the WHBW 2008 budget.20.7 full-time paid staff equivalents worked at WHBW.All information from the WHBW Web site (www.whbw.org)All facts from 7/1/07 to 6/30/08