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It was the day before Christmas Break...

Program Story

It was the day before Christmas Break. Sean Covel, Producer of NAPOLEON DYNAMITE and THE 12 DOGS OF CHRISTMAS, was having lunch with a 2nd grade teacher in his South Dakota hometown. He asked if her kids were excited for break and she paused. She told Sean that only about 1/2 of her 25-kid class was excited for Christmas break. The other 12 kids were nervous… Our schools do an incredible job of taking care of food insecure kids. They provide breakfast and lunch programs all school year and throughout the summer. The Backpack program provides food to make it though each weekend. But schools close down completely for the 12 days of Christmas break. At a time that means abundance for many, these kids only felt uncertainty.

In 2015


12 Rapid City families were sponsored.

Program Story

“I grew up in South Dakota. People take care of each other there. If a problem like this appeared, I knew the community would step up to fix it. But I didn’t imagine it would happen so fast.”That day, Sean connected with Jack Lynass and Shawn Kerns of Black Hills Community Bank. “They put a call in to Steve Cronin and Terri Larsen – owners of the Rapid City PizzaRanch and, I’m not exaggerating, FIVE MINUTES later they called me back to say Pizza Ranch was IN!”The 12 Days of Pizza came to life. 12 families were given meals every day for the 12 days of Christmas break.

In 2016


the program expanded to Sturgis, Spearfish and Deadwood, SD – bringing the total to 48 families.

In 2017


just year 3 of the program, we hoped to sponsor 100 families. 1200 meals. We beat the heck out of that goal.”

In September, 2017 Steve Croin, owner of Rapid City Pizza Ranch location, and Sean Covel had the goal of expanding the program to 100 families - up from 48 in 2016. Covel created the following video to be circulated among a small group of owners. The video went viral and the program went company wide.

Title Helping to end holiday hunger through the power of pizza!


The idea is going national, and the impact is staying local.

Covel elaborated; "To glorify God through positively impacting the community." Steve Cronin one told me that was the founding principal of Pizza Ranch. They are certainly living up top their word by impacting the communities which surround them!"

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