There is one person in Fort Pierce who knows just about everyone in his community and certainly a thing or two about giving back to his community. Scott Van Duzer of Big Apple Pizza is more popular around St. Lucie County than the pizza he serves every day because of one thing, his generosity.
Van Duzer brought community leaders together to kick off a reading campaign to put more books in more homes.
In middle and higher income households, there are 13 books for every child, in lower-income households there’s one book for every 300 kids, Sean Boyle, CEO of the Children’s Services Council, said.
The stats are eye-opening and one reason these leaders are committed to bringing literacy from the classroom to the dinner table. Van Duzer has seen the impact firsthand.
It gives them a fighting chance to have a more successful life, like I said education has got to be the starting foundation for them and a lot of the families don’t have the books in the house, Van Duzer said.
For 41 years, he’s been tossing pizza’s and turning attention back into St. Lucie County through charity. Each year the need to target education grows for the 40,000 students that call this area home.
We’ve been in St. Lucie County for 30 years, said Will Armstead, who heads up the Boys and Girls Club of St. Lucie County serving 16,000 kids annually and 2,000 daily in their clubs.
If you can’t read then what are you going to be able to do in life long term, Armstead said.
The effort is great and now its part of the menu here at Big Apple Pizza. A little library is stocked with books for St. Lucie County kids to take home, read and do some homework. When they bring that homework back, they’ll get a free slice and a free Pepsi. A simple campaign to create a hunger for reading
With both parents working, homes split up, it gets harder and harder for the child and it shouldn’t be that way so we wanted to step in and hopefully make a big difference, Van Duzer said.
Any children in St. Lucie County can stop by Big Apple Pizza at 2311 S. 35th St. in Fort Pierce anytime during their business hours to check out their new little library inside.