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Once homeless, pizza chef now feeds people in need

Every Monday night, Derrick Walton shuts down his pizza house to feed people in need — no matter what the cost

Iowa: The owner of a pizza shop, Derrick Walton was once homeless after making a series of ‘poor choices’ as a teenager, and slept in abandoned cars and houses. While trying to lift himself out of poverty, he pledged to help others if he ever had the means to do so.


PAYING IT FORWARD: Derrick Walton’s selfless actions were recognised by talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, who gifted him a $10,000 cheque on her show

“I made a promise that if I ever got in a position where I could help somebody, I would give something back,” Walton said. So when Walton opened Chef D’s Rock Power Pizza House earlier this year, one of the first ideas he put into practice was closing the shop on Monday nights to give free food to anyone who needs it — even if he can’t always afford to do so. And it’s not just a piece of pizza, but a full dinner with a protein, starch, vegetable and dessert. He wants the hungry  to leave with a full stomach.

Generosity repaid
When celebrity talk show host Ellen DeGeneres caught wind of Walton’s story, she decided to step in and help. She invited Walton to her show and presented him with a $10,000 cheque. She also urged her viewers to patronise the giving pizza parlour. “My hope with having you on is to have lines around the block and have it so packed that you can afford to close on Monday nights,” DeGeneres said, “and do what you’re doing because it’s such an amazing gesture.”                             

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