Angelo's Pizza raises thousands for Cleveland survivors

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Angelo's Pizza raised around $35,000 for the three Cleveland women rescued from a home on Seymour Avenue where police say they were held captive for a decade.

People lined up at both entrances of the Lakewood restaurant on Thursday, all waiting to purchase a pizza, as the proceeds for every pie sold went to support Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight. 

Tom Kess, the owner of Angelo's, said he decided to have the fundraiser after hearing one of the first thing's Amanda Berry asked for after her rescue, was Angelo's Pizza.

"I was just moved by that," said Kess. 

Not only did all pie purchases go to the fundraiser, but employees also volunteered their time working 12 and 16-hour shifts and only getting paid in tips to help off-set the cost.

Employee Annisah Colón said, "I think it's amazing thing (sic) and for us to all come together and do something like this, it's just like, it's teary, it's amazing, I love it."

And Angelo's customers were right there with Colón, some waiting up to an hour and more for their pizzas.

"We heard about the fundraiser for the girls and we wanted to help any way we could," said Mike Andrews as he waited in line with his son.

Kess told NewsChannel5, "I have a 15-year-old daughter and that's why I'm doing this, because it's just unbelievable.  I don't -- I can't even imagine what those families are going through.  It's unimaginable and then you see it in your home town, I just felt, as a vehicle in this community, that I have this amazing business, I'm blessed, that I had to do something and that's what this is about."

Kess said he plans on paying all the employees for their full day's work in addition to allowing them keep their tips. 

Money was also raised from raffle prizes.

Kess said not only were the sidewalks of Angelo's Pizza packed, but someone even left $500 in the employee's tip jar.

There was also a fundraiser held to support the three survivors at the Velvet Dog on West 6 th Street in Downtown Cleveland.  Manger General Manager Nick Baudo told NewsChannel5 the Velvet Dog donated the first $5,000 dollars to the fundraiser.  Money collected at the door, tips collected at the bar and money raised from raffles are going towards the fundraiser as well. 

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