Richmond Hill businesses host free appreciation lunch for first responders


RICHMOND HILL, Ga. (WSAV) — A local business showed its appreciation for first responders with a free lunch at Ricciardi’s Pizzeria.

Country Financial agents Michael Flynn and Jonathan Kitchens organized Wednesday’s event with the help of the restaurant’s owner, Chris Ricciardi.

“It’s a rough time right now, and in my opinion, you can never do enough for police officers and firefighters,” said Ricciardi, a United States Army veteran whose grandfather and great-grandfather served as law enforcement officers.

He and his staff prepared around 40 deep-dish sausage and pepperoni pizzas along with wings, Italian beef sandwiches, salads and fries for those who work to protect and save lives.

Flynn and Kitchens anticipated around 200 to 250 visitors for the free meal, which Ricciardi’s Pizzeria hosted from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

“We’re humbled and honored to be able to ask them to come to lunch and let us serve them,” Flynn told WSAV NOW.

“We’re coming upon Thanksgiving, and what better way to celebrate than with some food and some first responders?” he said.

Kitchens says amid the pandemic, they wanted to offer a big thanks to those on the front lines.

“It’s been a tough year for everybody, and they serve each other in our communities day in and day out, so we just wanted to come together and let them know that we appreciate them,” he said.

Police officers, EMTs, 911 operators and firefighters took breaks from their busy shifts to grab pizza at the free event.

Richmond Hill Police Chief Mitch Shores also stopped by. “We’re very excited, we’re very grateful,” he told WSAV NOW.

“I think it’s just it’s another example of the relationship that we have with the community, and how blessed we are as a police department to have a community and local businesses that are constantly sending the message to you that we support you, we’re on your side, we want to encourage you,” Shores said.

“It’s been an odd year with COVID-19 and a lot of things going on, and I think with all the obstacles that have been overcome, it’s refreshing to be consistently reminded that you have people who are your friends and people who want to do nice things for you,” he added.

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