Pella Chronicle

December 19, 2013

Pella Happy Joe’s to host Holiday party for children, adults with special needs


The Chronicle

Pella — Happy Joe’s will host a holiday party for children and adults with special needs on Friday, December 20th at the Christian Opportunity Center in Pella.  The party will be from 11am-1pm.  Pizza will be served, and Happy Joe’s faithful companion, Happy the Dog will be there to spread holiday cheer!  

“We take the holiday season as an opportunity to reflect on the past and continue the tradition our father started 41 years ago,” says Kristel Whitty-Ersan, Director of Marketing. 

Before opening his first Happy Joe's Pizza & Ice Cream Parlor in the Village of East Davenport, founder Joe Whitty was nearly fired from another pizza chain for sponsoring a party for a group of special needs children without first checking with his boss.  In 1972, on the eve his first restaurant’s opening night , he invited a local priest to bless his business and promised that if he could make enough money to feed his family, he would give something back to the community.  After just a few weeks in business, people were waiting out the door.  True to his word, Joe shut down the restaurant for a few hours one day a year to have a party for those less fortunate, and has required his franchisees to do the same.  Nearly 165,000 special needs children have benefited from the parties held throughout the chain over the past 41 years.