Local eatery helps community during Philanthropizza Day

California Pizza Kitchen is known for its wide variety of pizza creations. And thanks to events like the Philanthropizza Day that was held last Friday at the Waterside Shops restaurant, the establishment may soon become just as well known for its fund-raising efforts.

During the event, the restaurant donated 20 percent of every check from participating customers directly back to the Neighborhood Health Clinic.

From the packed parking lot of the event at Waterside Shops, it was obvious that event organizers planned a unique way to toss extra dough to another exceptional cause. Philanthropizza Day is one of many charitable events that California Pizza Kitchen donates to throughout the year. The day’s proceeds went to the Neighborhood Health Clinic, which is a medical home for low-income working adults in Collier County.

“We brainstormed with some of the volunteers, board members, to create Philanthropizza Day, and this is our second successful event here at California Pizza Kitchen this year,” said Nina Gray, chief executive officer of the Neighborhood Health Clinic, as she shared a few slices of fresh pizza with her friend, and Neighborhood Health Clinic volunteer, Sue Ryan.

“We have 500 volunteers and five paid staff and we see about 200 patients a week. They have to be low income, working and uninsured adults who live in Collier County,” said Gray of the local clinic, which provides medication, medical care, and healthcare education to walk-ins who qualify for services.

Philip Westley, a long-time member of the board of directors of St. Matthew’s House in Naples and Bonita Springs, sees firsthand what the Neighborhood Health Clinic does in the community through his volunteer work.

“Many of our residents at St. Matthew’s House go to the Neighborhood Health Clinic for assistance on Thursday and Saturdays, and they help many people here, especially the homeless population,” he said.

Lately, the economic downturn has affected many business sectors in Collier County, and healthcare benefits are no longer offered as actively as before. But Neighborhood Health Clinic’s Gray credits local doctors and dentists with filling in essential healthcare gaps for patients here.

“It’s amazing to see the doctors and dentists donate their time to the clinic to see patients, either there, or in their offices,” Gray said.

Westley echoed Gray’s words. “Naples is a very generous community, and without the good people of Naples good work like this, this clinic would not be possible.”

The next Philanthropizza Day at California Pizza Kitchen is scheduled for Sept. 6.

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If You Go:

Neighborhood Health Clinic

121 Goodlette Road N.

Naples, FL 34102

(239) 261-6600

Hours of operation: Open every other Saturday at 8:30 a.m. for patients on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Open Monday and Thursday at 3:00 p.m. until closing

© 2010 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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