We like to think there’s a touch of divine intervention behind our relationship with James Liston Hostel in Auckland; as our Grey Lynn store reaches the milestone of delivering 1000 pizzas to its residents since 2015.
Marty Richards owns HELL Grey Lynn. Once a month he and his team deliver 20 double pizzas to the residents of James Liston Hostel, not only giving back to those in need but also giving the hostel’s chef a welcome night off from the kitchen.
The hostel houses up to 50 single males and females at a time, all aged 18+. As well as accommodation, they also provide three meals per day.
The first pizzas were delivered in 2015 when a church group in Ponsonby ordered 20 pizzas but accidentally selected the wrong delivery date. When Marty arrived at the Church and found it empty, he called the group - who then suggested he deliver them to the nearby hostel.
“Straight away, I could see how it brightened their day and thought why not continue? So, we came up with a plan to deliver 20 double pizzas on the first Monday of every month. Four and half years later, we haven’t missed a delivery, and we’re up to 1000 pizzas,” says Marty.
The entire Grey Lynn team gets involved, whether it’s making or delivering the pizzas.
“In some ways after 1000 pizzas, you’d think it would become quite the norm but they still all understand how important this delivery is - especially when they get to see the resident’s positive reactions. It’s an awesome thing for our staff to be part of and they really appreciate this,” says Marty Richards.
Charlotte Ama Manages the Hostel. She describes Marty and his team as angels.
“Our residents appreciate the pizzas, and some of them get so excited. We have a 12-week bed programme, so there is a high turnover, and some of our residents have never had HELL pizza before - they love the treat,” says Charlotte Ama.
Marty says he and the team recognise homelessness is a big issue in the city, and the pizza delivery is one small way to help those in need.
“I can only imagine the hell these people are going through. Delivering pizza is a simple way we can brighten up their day - it gives the hostel chef a break and the residents something to look forward to,” says Marty.
As well as supporting James Liston Hostel, HELL Grey Lynn also takes part in our ‘Active in HELL’ programme, where stores work with IHC to help people with intellectual disabilities gain work experience.
“We’re just about to take on our ninth trainee. We provide work experience in-store for six weeks, equipping trainees with a whole new set of skills. It’s incredibly rewarding for our team to work alongside our trainees, and to see how they grow during their time at HELL,” says Marty.
If you would like to help the James Liston Hostel, you can email Charlotte via firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Hostel on 021714797