How do you help the poor not to be poor anymore?
That’s the question that lawmakers, philosophers, civil rights leaders, and Snapple lids have been debating for centuries.
But one Chicago businessman is taking the discussion out of high school debate classes and tossing it out onto the gritty streets of Chicago.
This is his story.
Amit Kapur is not a poor man. He is the founder of a successful private investment fund, has an MBA from Northwestern, and is generally considered to be a smashing success by his community.
Kapur spent his childhood in the various suburbs around Chicago and as a result he learned two very important things about his community.
One: Chicago is home to a larger than normal number of impoverished people.
Two: Chicago people love Pizza.
That’s when Kapur had an idea. What if there was a place that could sate Chicagoans unquenchable pizza-lust, while also aiding those people who had been dealt a less advantageous hand in life?
And so Kapur took all of his success and started Pi Gallery Bar: Chicago’s first high-end pizza shop/hunger outreach center.
Amit began by turning Pi Gallery Bar into a successful business. All of their ingredients are fresh and locally sourced. Their pies come in only one size to avoid worrying about anything but the quality of the food. And their location is directly in the heart of the city.
The next step was to use Pi Gallery Bar as an engine to drive social change in inner city Chicago. And for that Kapur decided to look to his customers.
For every (yes EVERY) pizza that his customers purchase Kapur will donate a pizza to a local homeless shelter.
According to Kapur, the idea is to help erase hunger while also encouraging Chicago citizens to think about other people.
“I want all of my customers to know that every bite they take of our pizza is allowing someone who is struggling to take a bite of pizza as well” Kapur said.
“Everybody has to eat, and in Chicago you’re probably going to eat pizza. So why not eat here where you’ll be helping someone else do the same."
Kapur wants Pi Gallery Pizza to be a place that challenges the notion that hungry people are hungry because they either smoke, drank, or huffed their way onto the streets.
“These are real people with real problems” Kapur says, “We should be helping any way we can”.
It should be noted that Pi Gallery Pizza is high quality pizza (see picture below) and Kapur believes that the quality of his food is what will make such a big difference in the lives of those he is attempting to serve.
“We didn’t want to be some sort of fast food place that hands out something they know is cheap. If we give them high quality food there is a social effect that happens where they feel even more cared for by what we’re doing” Kapur said.
Kapur’s dream is to franchise his pizza shop all across the country and all with the same model: 1 for you 1 for them.
Currently Pi Gallery Pizza is running an IndieGoGo campaign leading up to the official launch of their new initiative.
If you live in the Chicago area and want to get involved visit their page for more information.
Everyone else watch this video and be inspired. I'm going to get some pizza.