CHICAGO -- Uno Chicago Grill and delivery and logistics company DHL have teamed with nonprofit organization Pizzas 4 Patriots for Operation Pizza Surge. The companies will dish out more than 25,000 pizzas to U.S. service men and women throughout Iraq and Afghanistan in time for July 4.
The event was conceived by Ret. Master Sgt. Mark Evans of Elk Grove Village, Ill. In 2008, Evans' 15-year-old son Kent asked if there was a way to deliver Chicago-style pizzas to service men and women stationed throughout Iraq in time for Independence Day celebrations. The original idea was to send 300 pizzas, but as word spread throughout the country, that number grew to more than 2,000. Evans managed to ship another 2,000 pizzas out for this year's Super Bowl.
Operation Pizza Surge will be the World's Largest Pizza Party, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Evans teamed with DHL to fill a donated cargo jet with as many as 28,000 deep-dish pizzas purchased at a dramatically reduced price from Uno, which is celebrating 65 years since inventing the deep-dish pizza.
Thousands of pizzas packaged in temperature-controlled containers will be picked up at the Uno facility in Brockton, Mass., in late June, and loaded onto trucks. The shipment will fly from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York directly to the Middle East, with delivery to forward operating bases in time for July 4 celebrations.
"As a retired member of the military, I appreciate what it means to receive such a special care package like this, and I thank Uno and DHL for bringing reminders of home to our U.S. troops stationed thousands of miles away," said Evans. "The reactions we have received from families, friends of the military, and the troops themselves about this initiative have been heartwarming."