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Happy Joe’s Pizza Brings Fun and Special Needs Funding to the Quad Cities

For Happy Joe’s Pizza & Ice Cream, community service means going above and beyond the status quo. Fall 2022 was a season to remember for families in the locales in which the brand operates. This September, the iconic pizza and ice cream chain brought fun and charitable donations to the Quad Cities area of Iowa and Illinois.

According to Happy Joe’s CEO and Chief Happiness Officer, Tom Sacco, the organization’s philosophy is simple. “We focus on family connections,” Sacco says. “We focus on being the place to celebrate any family event. We extend that to school and community groups, and we strive to create lifelong magical memories for our guests.”

This altruistic attitude has been baked into the eatery chain since its inception. In 1972, Happy Joe’s founder, Joe Whitty, had a dream for a brand new restaurant concept. It would be a place where families could enjoy America’s two favorite foods —- pizza and ice cream —- in a unique, kid-friendly, and fun environment. Now, 50 years later, Happy Joe’s Pizza & Ice Cream is one of America’s most beloved restaurants. With franchises spanning across the Midwest, the brand’s iconic “Taco Pizza” and community service-oriented approach have made it a true fan favorite. Along with celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022, the brand has also been named a QSR Magazine “Top 50 Contender”, FastCasual “Top 200” concept, a Franchise Times “Top 400” business, and a Nation’s Restaurant News “Top 500” restaurant, and an induction in Pizza Marketplace Magazine’s “Pizza Hall of Fame”.

Happy Joe’s Hosts Micro-Marathon for Kids in Moline, Illinois

Built on its fun and celebratory quick-service restaurants, the Happy Joe’s brand has spent the past 50 years delivering quality service and genuine community engagement. The brand is no stranger to the power of collaboration when it comes to making that happen. On Saturday, Sept. 23, the company once again hosted its annual Kids Micro-Marathon in partnership with the TBK Quad Cities Marathon. Kids and their families were invited to enjoy one of the brand’s most exciting events of the year.

The children’s micro-marathon was held in Moline, Illinois, at the Vibrant Arena. Kids were invited to participate in one of three different race options — one mile, half-mile, and quarter-mile — each geared to suit different ages and abilities.

And the fun didn’t stop there. All children that registered to participate in the micro-marathon received an official Kids Micro-Marathon medal, T-shirt, company-branded swag bag, and a free pizza after finishing their race.

Sacco was particularly excited to bring the event back this year. “The TBK Quad Cities Marathon is a unique event because it brings so many different communities together for a day of exercise and fun. Happy Joe’s is proud to sponsor the Kids Micro-Marathon because it gets children outside and physically active — just like their parents!”

Before and after enjoying the kickoff and non-competitive race, kids and their families were invited to let loose and have fun. Children could enjoy a variety of activities and games, including inflatables, face painting, and a performance by the Happy Joe’s hip-hop dance team. The brand’s mascot, Happy the Dog, and other local celebrity mascots also made an appearance at the event, posing for photos and giving plenty of hugs.

“This race has been a wonderful September tradition for Happy Joe’s and all of the amazing families in the Quad Cities and surrounding areas,” said Kristel Whitty-Ersan, the company’s VP of Marketing. “We are so honored to be sponsoring it once again this year.”

Along with bringing a day filled with fun to the children of the Quad Cities, the family-friendly chain is also working to ease financial strains for kids in need.

The Happy Joe’s Kids Foundation Helps Families in Need

On Sept. 10, founder “Happy Joe” Whitty’s birthday, Happy Joe’s Pizza & Ice Cream launched a program benefiting children with special needs and their families. In partnership with the Happy Joe’s Kids Foundation, the pizza chain celebrated Whitty’s birthday and the brand’s 50th anniversary by bringing donations to the communities it serves.

Fifty families will be awarded $1,000 each to help ease their financial burden, for a total of $50,000. Funds can be used to support children’s medical expenses and mobility needs, as well as educational and therapeutic programs.

Perhaps what’s most remarkable about this collaboration between Happy Joe’s Pizza and the Happy Joe’s Kids Foundation is its companywide approach. Both general managers and franchisees of all 50 pizza restaurants will participate in the program by helping locate families in need of financial assistance.

Whitty-Ersan — the founder’s daughter — explained that giving back is a part of the brand’s DNA. “My family and I are honored to make this gift and continue our father’s mission of giving back to the communities that helped him achieve his dream.”

Being a purpose-driven brand is nothing new for the corporation. “For 50 years, Happy Joe’s has strived to create magical moments for all our guests wherever they may be,” said Sacco. “We plan to continue Joe’s legacy for as long as possible. Our hope is that each donation we make will bring smiles and welcome relief to wonderful families across our system.”

It’s not just families in need who are being celebrated this fall. In addition to bringing monetary support to families of children with special needs, Happy Joe’s is also giving away a 2022 Ford Explorer ST to one lucky person. Guests are invited to enter for a chance to win this brand-new vehicle by calling 844-648-2832 or by registering online at happyjoesgiveaway.com. The lucky winner will also receive $17,000 to cover taxes, ensuring a stress-free celebration for whoever wins. Participants can double their entry into the contest by making a $25 donation to the Happy Joe’s Kids Foundation or a similar children’s charity. All proceeds will go to benefit these charities.