With school and university closed because of the lockdown, Alfie, his sister Amber, and girlfriend Allegra conceived a project to make Neapolitan pizzas for frontline workers and vulnerable adults. “One night we were having pizza and we were thinking about how we could share a little bit of happiness and for me, pizza is the ultimate joy.” – explained Alfred – “Front-line staff are keeping us alive and homeless shelters are fuller than ever. We need to show them some love.”
That’s how Pandemic Pizza came to be.
They began by testing the recipes of various famous Neapolitan pizzaiolos and hired a wood-fired oven to slot in the back of a beaten up Land Rover. Their mission is to provide a healthy and complete meal, and inspired by Massimo Bottura’s philosophy, they decided to use only local ingredients: organic flour produced only 20 miles away, organic mozzarella di bufala, San Marzano tomatoes, and basil grown in Alfie’s parents’ garden. “Our Italian inspiration: keeping pizzas up to Neapolitan standards” declared Allegra, which is why they hand-make the dough the night before so it ferments in the Neapolitan style.
The result? A fragrant fresh pizza, delivered directly to those who can use a moment of joy and delicious kindness.
So far, they have donated in total 1680 pizzas to local homeless shelters, care-homes and ambulance services. Alfred and his girlfriend Allegra also went to Refettorio Felix twice and donated 120 pizzas each time – enough for the guests, but also for the Refettorio staff and volunteers.
Allegra and Alfred had both previously volunteered at Refettorio Felix, and the amazing work that staff and volunteers are doing was a huge inspiration for them to start this project. “It was special to see the guests’ faces light up as they opened the box to a steaming pizza. But at Refettorio Felix, I love to know that our contribution is small in comparison to what they do every day for the community, and have done for years. Food makes people happy, and the Refettorio has changed the lives of so many through their gift of delicious meals. They are our inspiration.” – said Alfie.
They also maintain strict social distancing, wearing gloves, hats, following all the governmental guidelines. Jo Kitching, director of homeless charity Doorway said: “Homemade pizza given out for free is a treat in the best of times, but at the moment it can really make a difference to someone’s day.”
Sometimes the most difficult situations push us out of our comfort zone and can be the spark for something extraordinary. And if we use that energy and the quality of our ideas to improve someone’s day, to care for our community, that’s when we make the future a little brighter and the world more inclusive.