ROCKPORT — Residents and staff at group homes across the state are being treated to free Domino's pizza thanks to the efforts of Anna Baglaneas-Eves of Rockport.
Baglaneas-Eves, along with friend Cheryl Ryan Chan, are the creators of Group Home Pizza, an organization that raises money to provide free meals to those who work or live in state Department of Developmental Services group housing.
"The medical staff (at these group homes) cook, clean and keep everyone happy," Baglaneas-Eves said. "The least we can do is give them a break from cooking dinner. They're frontline workers — the ones we don't typically think of. We wanted to show our appreciation."
Baglaneas-Eves's son, Yianni, lives at a group home in Beverly for developmentally disabled adults. She began ordering food for staff once a week once around mid-April.
"My daughter Marissa and I decided it would be nice," she explained. "I'd send one meal one week and she's send another the next week. We would do Friday night pizza parties."
After posting about her efforts on Facebook, Cheryl Ryan Chan commented that she wanted to do something similar. Ryan Chan's son, Nicky, is the namesake behind the Nicky's Law. Passed this past February, the law created a state registry that tracks those who have abused those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
"I knew the need was great — the idea of providing some way of show appreciation to those who are working so hard," said Ryan Chan. "It's important that we keep showing our gratitude in any way we can."
After "putting their heads together," as Baglaneas-Eves said, the two reached out to Domino's headquarters. They were later put in touch with Jessica Welch, who works in the marketing department for the popular pizza chain's Northeast franchise locations.
"We're very very grateful to Domino's Pizza and the owners across Massachusetts for their generosity," said Ryan Chan "They jumped right on board and were eager to be a part of the project."
Grouphomepizza.com went live at the end of April. The website details how donors can purchase two $25 e-gift cards to the popular pizza chain. Each $25 donation allows Group Home Pizza to purchase a "Perfect Combo Deal," which includes two medium one-topping pizzas, a two-liter bottle of soda, Parmesan Bread Bites and Cinna Stix.
"It really is the perfect combo," said Baglaneas-Eves. "It's usually enough to feed a home for the night."
So far, the group has raised $2,510 and delivered meals to 28 agencies, including Bridgewell, Melmark New England and Lifeworks Inc.
"Thanks again to you and your community for this initiative," wrote Rita McAteer, director of development and marketing of Bridgewell, in an email to Baglaneas-Eves after the organization received its coupons. "It's wonderful and very much appreciated by those in our services and our staff."
Donations are still being accepted at grouphomepizza.com. State Department of Developmental Services group homes may also sign up for free meals via the website.
Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or firstname.lastname@example.org.