Warm gesture helps freezing cold fundraisers on The Big Sleepout

We Love Pizza, Leamington, Helping Hands
Geanina Lacraru of WLP presents the pizzas to Rob Langley-Swain of Helping Hands.

Warm-hearted restaurateurs in Leamington Spa cooked up a storm when they turned up at a charity sleepout to feed cold and hungry fundraisers.

Geanina Lacraru, who runs We Love Pizza in Regents Place with her partner Jose Ribeiro, handed out pizzas to more than 50 kind-hearted volunteers who took part in the Helping Hands Community Project’s Big Sleepout, on Friday. (Feb 9th)

The giveaway was the latest in a series of gestures by the restaurant to support the charity over the years since it opened in 2020.

Geanina said: “The date coincided with National Pizza Day and what better opportunity to share a ‘Random Act of Pizza’ with the ones that need the most and most times are forgotten, even when they are all around us in our daily life.

“The event aims to raise awareness of homelessness and some of its causes, issues which face so many in our community in Leamington.

“In the winter months with longer, darker and colder nights, charities such as Helping Hands are more in demand than ever. This is just the right time to give these organisations the boost they need. Homeless people are not only missing a home, they also miss social interaction, people that understand them and some comfort.

“We hope our freshly baked, hot pizzas brought them some comforting moments. We wanted to share it with them as a way of saying, we are in this together.
We can’t find you a home, just yet, but we understand and support you!

The event, which is in its ninth year, was held at All Saints Parish Church and raises vital funds for Helping Hands, a charity which raises awareness of the causes and effects of homelessness within the local community.

We Love Pizza, Leamington, Helping Hands

Spokesperson for the charity, Kerry Steward, said: “The pizza was devoured and enjoyed by all 50 attendees of the event as well as volunteers and staff team, adding a bit of extra cheer to what was a very cold and wet night!”

She added: “We Love Pizza have been a wonderful support to us over the years, most recently gifting pizzas to us to celebrate with our volunteers who were awarded the Kings Award for Voluntary Services back in November last year.

“They have also delivered pizzas on nights sponsored by local corporate groups and included extras to our evening soup kitchens where we provide up to 50 meals a night to some of the most vulnerable people within our community.”

Geanina and Jose reopened their doors to diners with a new look restaurant more than three years after the pandemic forced it to pivot into takeaway food.

They unveiled the two-storey dining space above the take-out business, in Regents Place, in response to customer demand.

The couple pride themselves on delivering ‘affordable quality’ to their customers by using only the best and most nutritious flour combinations and implementing exact temperature control and longer fermentation periods for the sourdough. Fresh ingredients are sourced directly from Italy – including tomatoes from the volcanic soils of Mount Versuvius – as well as locally.

Helping Hands Community Project

Helping Hands extend compassionate and practical support to those struggling with the causes and effects of homelessness and trauma, including domestic abuse, addiction, isolation, poverty and mental health challenges.

The charity offers a listening ear and qualified counselling from experienced advisors, but believes very much in providing a ‘hand-up’ not just a ‘hand out.’ Their mission is to empower everyone who comes to them to realise their full potential and create a brighter future.

Since the charity was established in 2015, it has created a safe space and practical support to thousands of vulnerable people, driven by volunteers and powered by the generosity of the local business community.

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