- An Eagle River man gives back to his community using pizza. The pizza parties have raised more than $13,000 in donations for local charities and individuals since 2006.
Gary Anderson has lived in Eagle River for practically his entire life. He started out by making homemade pizzas for his family nearly 20 years ago.
"My mother used to make Chef Boyardee pizzas, and I thought my god, there has got to be a better way."
Since then, Anderson has fine-tuned his pizza recipe. He loves a good sauce, but he says the key to HIS pizza's is a mixed mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
"Look for the cheese, look for the right sausage," Anderson said.
Anderson loves working at his cooking station in his kitchen with his family and friends eating his pizzas across the counter. He says the pizza parties grew over the years. Anderson cooked for friends and others in the community.
He paid for all the ingredients and gave the pizza's away for free. Then his partner started working with Relay for Life.
"And my partner said to me, rather than just give these pizzas away, why don't we ask for a dollar donation," Anderson said.
So that's what happened.
"At the end of the day I'd have ten people here and I would have $200," Anderson said.
Anderson has donated 13,270 making pizza's since 2006. He uses all of that money to help local charities. Those include Relay for Life, Angel on my Shoulder, Warm the Children and Wings of Mercy. He says none of it pays for his ingredients.
"If I was on the Shark Tank (ABC show where contestants offer business ideas for possible investment), and they asked me what my business plan was, and I told them I want to help people, but I don't want to make any money," Anderson said. "They would ask me to leave."
Anderson would gladly walk out. He doesn't know how much longer he can do this as he is in his 70s, But he enjoys two aspects of it the most. One is when someone says his pizza is the best they've ever had.
"It doesn't get any better than that," Anderson said.
The other, is helping others.
"I just feel you have to give back," Anderson said.
He'll keep doing that one pizza at a time.