Catasauqua Press

Friday, December 6, 2019

Pie’s On owner, volunteers serve holiday dinners

Wednesday, January 30, 2019 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

600 meals prepared this past Christmas to residents of Catasauqua and beyond

Every year on Christmas Day, John Landi opens the Pie’s On Pizzeria kitchen to prepare a full-blown Christmas dinner, including turkey, ham, potatoes and a vegetable, for those who are celebrating alone or cannot make it out anywhere. He and his crew deliver or serve meals to anyone in need who asks.

“We did about 600 meals [in 2018],” Landi said.

This number is higher than the previous year and a far cry from when this tradition started.

“We started with people around Catty, but word quickly spread, and now we have quite a list of people,” he said.

The action starts around 10 a.m. and goes nonstop until well after 2 p.m.

The meals translated to 22 turkeys, 20 hams, 1,500 servings of mashed potatoes, 22 cans of corn and 50 dozen rolls.

According to Landi, the process is a logistics project. Cooking the meals is something he can do because that is how his business prospered.

“At Christmas, we need volunteers. We usually have enough, but as this grows, we will need more people to make the deliveries,” he said.

Landi does not want the volunteers delivering food to just drop it off and immediately leave.

“Most of the people we serve are alone on Christmas, so they want to talk a little,” he said.

Food expenses topped $2,000, but Landi feels his Christmas Day meals are part of the borough’s uniqueness and serve as a way to thank customers who patronize his restaurant during the year.

“Everyone in the community gets involved. People make cookies and donate food. We get a lot of our volunteers from Lehigh Valley Humanist Association. They have been a big assist every year,” Landi said.

Most of the volunteers come back with smiles or, in some cases, are teary-eyed.

“Everybody who volunteers with us and my family has a good time spreading cheer,” he said.

The meal deliveries are not isolated to Catasauqua. Drivers went as far as Walnutport and Easton to deliver meals. Pie’s On keeps a list of people who have asked for a meal before.

“One problem is that people move, and sometimes the number we have is no longer in service,” he said.

If you move and need a meal on Christmas, you need to call.

Home alone this year? Pie’s On will need drivers and volunteers. Landi expects the program to get bigger and serve more shut-ins.