PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – His is a real rags to riches story.
So, when he saw our stories earlier this month about needy families, a local business owner decided to give back in a special way this Christmas.
He contacted KDKA-TV’s Andy Sheehan to help give those who are struggling a special evening.
Joe Wadlow achieved real success in life as the co-owner of seven Monte Cello’s Restaurants, but the memories of growing up poor have never left him.
“I remember when I was a kid pulling my wagon from St. Joe’s in Manchester with my mother full of the free welfare food. It was peanut butter and powder eggs and powdered milk,” Wadlow said.
So, our stories about struggling families at local food pantries touched a nerve.
“I saw that and I thought with the holidays coming and Christmas, wouldn’t it be nice to have a dinner out at a restaurant for a family that normally couldn’t go out,” Wadlow said. “I have five gift cards worth $80 and I would think that $80 would be enough to give a family of six a nice meal here at Monte Cello’s.”
Sheehan brought the gift cards to the food pantry at North Hills Community Outreach, where more and more families are coming for help.
“People are really struggling and they come here because they can’t make ends meet and they very rarely get to do anything special. I think this is really just a nice thing for them,” Natalie Klaum said.
It’s a treat for people like Susan Siford, a single mom whose husband passed just three years ago. She rarely has a night out with her kids, but it would be nice to sit down in a restaurant.
*Oh, to be catered to and I won’t have to do any dishes. That’s the best,” Siford said.
Christmas can be a tough time of year for those who are struggling, but how quickly that can turn around with just a little bit of human kindness.