• 91°

Pizza & Prayers: Tant family asks for help delivering pizzas to homeless

Joe Tant is going to spend time Friday (July 17) delivering pizza and prayers to the homeless communities in Southeast Texas.

The executive director of the Port Arthur Education Foundation is gathering with family and friends to help the less fortunate in a big way.

“We wanted to try and give back to our community, and the best way we could think to do that was to try and go out into the area, help some of the less fortunate and our homeless population,” Tant said. “We figured, No. 1, it’s $5 but it goes a long way with pizza. No. 2, it’s a way to be safe in response to COVID-19. No. 3, it’s a way to pass along a positive message or prayer. Plus, who doesn’t like pizza?”

Two volunteers will be paired per vehicle to distribute two to three pizza boxes equipped with positive messages written on top.

Tant said the set-up includes a way to social distance and still fill needs.

“We didn’t want people showing up at the building asking for pizza, so we are going to send people out during lunch hour to the places in most need,” he said.

The delivery mission includes pizzas provided by Domino’s of Port Arthur, bottles of water from Mid-American Contractors, facemasks donated by Fallows International and ice from Lamar State College Port Arthur.

Jefferson County Precinct 2 Constable Christopher Bates is also helping in a big way.

Bates is a prominent figure in community volunteer and activism. He will deliver pizzas alongside other volunteers.

“I’ve personally helped the homeless and assisted other organizations in the past,” Bates said. “Joe (Tant) is a good friend of mine and when he reached out to me about the idea, I was on board 100 percent. I’ve been blessed, even through COVID-19, but I know others need assistance.”

Bates said it’s important to bless others who are less fortunate.

“Pizza may not seem like a lot, but to a person who is homeless and may not know where their next meal is coming from, it’s something grand,” he said. “The cause is good because I feel it will bring more awareness to the homeless population and show our local, county and state officials that more needs to be done to assist. I believe Joe’s efforts will develop into a regular and consistent event where food, essential items and hopefully shelter will be available to individuals who need a helping hand.

“I would encourage more organizations and individuals to help and be a blessing to those who might need inspiration in their lives.”

As of Monday afternoon, the fundraiser has drawn over $500 for pizzas and $125 for water. Any additional funds will be used for extra pizza.

Items will be delivered across Orange, Port Arthur, Beaumont and Mid-County.

“We want to spread some hope and get some folks a good meal that they maybe haven’t had in awhile,” Tant said. “Whatever the Tant family can do to make things better in the world right now, we’re going to do.”

Tant wanted to emphasize that the event is ‘a look at me’ situation.

“We don’t want photos of these folks,” he said. “We don’t want to embarrass people. Instead, we are asking those participating to post a picture of the positive message we are trying to send out, not homeless people. That’s our mission. We want to spread some hope, feed people and make people feel wanted.”

If interested in volunteering to deliver pizzas, stop by the Carl Parker Center, 1800 Lakeshore Drive, at 11 a.m. on Friday (July 17).

To donate funds to the cause, reach out to Joe Tant on Facebook for CashApp, PayPal and Venmo options.