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The Big Give: Piada Connects With The Community

Walker Evans Walker Evans The Big Give: Piada Connects With The CommunityMatt Eisenacher, Marketing Director at Piada Italian Street Food.
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Piada Italian Street Food has seen exponential growth since launching their first store on Lane Avenue back in 2010. With 21 locations across Ohio, Indiana and Michigan and three more currently in the works (two in Houston and one in Toledo), the fast-casual restaurant has been able to touch a lot of communities very quickly. And while the main purpose of the company is to serve fresh food to hungry customers, there’s also a philanthropic core that drives the business to leave communities better off than they were found.

“Our founder Chris Doody always says that we need be local in everything that we do,” explained Piada Marketing Director Matt Eisenacher. “Wherever we put a restaurant, the mission is to find out what makes the community tick. So our giving efforts are really decided upon by the community.”

With the company’s headquarters located in Central Ohio, Piada has decided to double-down on philanthropic efforts in their own back yard by getting involved again in The Big Give event, which will take place during the 24-hour period between 10am on May 12th and 10am on May 13th.

“The Columbus Foundation did such a great job with The Big Give in 2011 and 2013,” said Eisenacher. “It was really well orchestrated, and the fact that it goes toward helping over 600 local nonprofits is pretty cool. That’s a pretty big scale here in Columbus.”

During 2013’s Big Give, Piada gave away a free “Piada Stick” to anyone who made a donation during the event in order to help encourage participation. Eisenacher said the feedback from the event was great and that they saw a high redemption rate for their giveaway, so they’ve decided to give an even bigger incentive this year: anyone making a donation during The Big Give can get a free Piada entree during the two-day period.

“We’re a smaller company, so we may not be able to give as much financially as some of the larger national organizations,” explained Eisenacher. “But we know that we can help with donating food and other items to help organizations raise money.”

If the idea of giving out a massive amount of free entrees during a two-day event sounds like it could be overwhelming to the restaurant, then it’s worth noting that the organization already has some practice under their belts. Piada has donated funds to many local school districts including Gahanna Lincoln, Worthington and Hilliard — and part of those events involves a giveaway of free Piadas to hungry High School students for a night.

“Our record was giving out 1,500 Piadas in Worthington — we were making around 350 of them per hour,” said Eisenacher with a laugh. “We’ll have to mount a GoPro camera on top of the line to capture the action next time!”

Eisenacher explained that supporting schools is a universal cause for Piada in every community, as is cancer-fighting organizations and programs.

Cancer-related causes are close to the heart of Chris and his family, so that’s something definitely personal for us,” he said. “We try to try to work a lot with those types of causes. Beyond that, the rest of our support really depends upon the needs of the communities we’re a part of.”

All Central Ohioans are invited to support their favorite charities and causes during The Big Give. Online donations to over 630 local nonprofit organizations can be made between 10am on Tuesday May 12th and 10am on Tuesday May 13th. All individual contributions will be amplified by a $1.3 million bonus pool assigned on a pro rata basis.

For more information, visit www.columbusfoundation.org.

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