Rangely restaurant, moms team up

Sarah Bishop of Rangely delivers a pizza during a Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) Super Bowl fundraiser. Giovanni’s Italian Grill made and donated 89 pizzas for the event, which earned the group more than $1,100.”

Sarah Bishop of Rangely delivers a pizza during a Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) Super Bowl fundraiser. Giovanni’s Italian Grill made and donated 89 pizzas for the event, which earned the group more than $1,100.”RANGELY I Back when the Rangely Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group began selling pizzas for Super Bowl Sunday in February, its leaders weren’t prepared for the response.
In just three hours, Giovanni’s Italian Grill, the local business sponsoring the event, had cranked out 89 pies and netted the group just more than $1,100.
“This opportunity was amazing,” said Manda Palmer, MOPS fundraising coordinator and financial chair. “We earned way more funds than we expected, which will really help us help other moms.
This is the third time that Giovanni’s owners John and Sandy Payne have offered this kind of fund raising opportunity to a local group. A few years ago, InStep Youth Ministry took it on, and last year was MOPS’ first shot at the event.
That time, approximately 80 pizzas were sold, and the Paynes committed to giving all proceeds to MOPS, minus their food costs. To the surprise of the group, MOPS received all of the money earned, as they did again this year.
“We see it as a giving opportunity,” said Sandy Payne. “We discount the pizzas so that’s giving to our customers, and it still gives a nice fundraiser to MOPS.”
The more Giovanni’s sponsors this event, the more smoothly things seem to go.
“We learned a lot from doing it that first time (with InStep),” said John Payne. “I feel more confident now the more I do it.”
Since the pizzas were presold, John Payne was able to make the dough and prepare the ingredients ahead of time with the help of Giovanni’s employee Sophia Sisneros, who gave her time for the event, and another paid employee.
“I know about MOPS from living in Grand Junction and thought it was a cool group,” said Sisneros. “When I heard John was going to do the pizza thing, I thought, ‘Hey, I could help with that and learn more about my job, too.’”
John’s no stranger to the kind of output the restaurant saw during Super Bowl XLIV. He worked for an Italian restaurant, Garramone’s, in Lakewood, for almost 20 years before the owners opened another restaurant for Payne to run in southwest Jefferson County, called Michelli’s.
“I enjoy it,” said John Payne. “Where I learned to make pizza, we made that many every night. It brings back memories for me. It’s fun.”
The Paynes had hit on a target range of 80 pizzas for this year’s event, but when last-minute orders and call-ins raised the number to 89, Sandy Payne wasn’t concerned.
“I really like the fact that this Christian organization is out there ministering to new moms,” she said. “Friendships blossom, the ladies rally and come together, and they can support each other in tough times. I think that’s really valuable.”
As a relatively new mom to Rangely herself, Palmer agrees.
“Personally, when I moved here, I knew nobody,” she said. “It was a terrible winter and we couldn’t get out much … MOPS was a way to get out and socialize. It’s the biggest way I’ve gotten to know people here.”
Though some meeting supplies will be paid for with the fundraising money, much of it will be used for mothers and families in the community who could use a little help.
“We want to reach out to the mom who doesn’t know anybody, who’s withdrawn a little bit,” Palmer said. “We’d like to provide some necessities for moms in Rangely, and not necessarily just those involved with MOPS now.
n MOPS meets the first Thursday of each month at Grace Baptist Church, 144 S. Stanolind Ave., from 9-11 a.m. Breakfast and childcare is provided. For more information, contact Amanda Davies at 675-8807.