Pizza Ranch reaches out helping hand this holiday season; Restaurant launches first year of Giving Tree Project

Published 7:29 am Monday, November 13, 2017

Inside the Austin Pizza Ranch is a Christmas tree, a very common sight at this time of year.

But instead of being adorned with traditional ornaments, this Christmas tree has winter gloves and hats hanging from its branches.

It is the first year of the Austin Pizza Ranch’s Giving Tree Project, a collective by the employees as a way to give back.

People in need of winter gloves of hats can take them from the Giving Tree at the Austin Pizza Ranch. Michael Stoll/

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“Our employees got together and we decided that we needed to do something for the community and we wanted to hit areas that haven’t been hit before,” said Trisha Tietje, a member of the Austin Pizza Ranch’s management team. “We think about the coat drive, so we thought we need to things like gloves, warm hats and winter wear that often gets missed. That’s where the idea for this came from.”

The project, which kicked off Nov. 1, allows people to take or donate winter hats and gloves.

“We don’t have any rules,” Tietje said. “Anybody that would like to come and take, it’s an open door. Come on in and get whatever you need. If you know somebody in need, they can come and take as well or you can take for them. If you or a business would like to donate to the cause, you can certainly bring things in. Any winter wear is welcome, so if you donate items that don’t fit on the tree, we’ve got some boxes here that you can place them in. Just drop by Pizza Ranch and place them on our tree, or we’ll help put them up. Everybody is invited to partake in this activity.”

Tietje said that she has been trying to spread the word about the project through direct contact and social media.

“I’ve reached out to different schools, a few churches, anybody that has a connection with people that will allow us to get the word out,” she said. “We’ve got it on Facebook and we’re hoping people will share the post. We want everyone to know we’re here and we want to help you.”

Tietje said that since the project began, the supply of hats and gloves have gone quickly.

“We’ll continue it as long as we see there’s a need for it and people keep coming in to take,” she said. “It’ll stay up through the winter months if necessary.”

Tietje encourages the community to get involved with donating winter wear.

“Our goal is that we don’t want anybody in Mower County to be without these necessary items,” she said. “Come on in, take part in this and lets do our part in the community.”