Slices for Seniors: Big Apple Pizza in Fort Pierce helping seniors feel less alone amidst coronavirus fears

Posted at 10:48 PM, Mar 26, 2020

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — A local pizza shop is working to spread a little joy during uncertain times.

Big Apple Pizza in Fort Pierce is at it again, pulling together an effort to serve the St. Lucie County community.

Owner Scott Van Duzer says he wanted to make sure elderly people in the community do not feel alone as they protect themselves from COVID-19. Health officials say they are the most at risk to have serious health issues associated with the virus.

That means many seniors are staying inside and limiting visitors. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities have stopped visitation.

Van Duzer came up with an idea he calls ‘Slices for Seniors’.

With donations from the community, he is delivering pizza, a t-shirt, and handmade cards to elderly members of the community.

He’s enlisted the help of children who are out of school to make the cards.

“Kids that are home doing nothing, I thought what better way to have something meaningful to do,” Van Duzer said.

Thursday, Van Duzer delivered nearly 60 cards, pizzas, and t-shirts for residents at Lake Forest Park, a senior living facility in Fort Pierce.

Employees say their residents have been able to wave to the family through their windows, or Skype with family members. Thursday’s delivery was a special surprise, helping boost residents’ spirits.

“To me it means the world to hopefully be able to get a smile on their face, and just be 'what’s this?' It’s for you because someone outside who doesn’t even know you care about you,” Van Duzer said.

The idea comes from a personal place for Van Duzer.

“People who know me know how much I loved my mom and how painful it was at the end of her life. All she had to look forward to was me coming to spend 15 minutes before work, 15 minutes after work,” Van Duzer said. "I can’t imagine not going to see my mom or grandma or grandfather at the end of their life.”

Van Duzer said he would like to serve at least 1,000 seniors.

Van Duzer says this is a creative way for them to also keep their business afloat as many small businesses are struggling.