A Family for ME has collaborated with 22 Pizza Hut restaurants in Maine since September 2007 to display Heart Gallery photographs. From September 2007 to August 2008, 32 children have been placed with adoptive families from the Heart Gallery program. A Family for ME is a nonprofit organization contracted by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to recruit prospective foster and adoptive families. The Heart Gallery exhibit consists of photographs of the 147 children in Maine who are waiting for an adoptive family. There are currently 300 photographs displayed in Pizza Hut restaurants across the state of Maine.
The first Heart Gallery installation in Pizza Hut started with the combined recruitment efforts of A Family for ME and the Norway-Paris Kiwanis Club in the Oxford restaurant.
The manager of Oxford Pizza Hut, Susan Berry, then advocated for having the photographs in all Maine Pizza Hut locations. After seeing the faces of the children and teenagers on Susan’s Heart Gallery wall, Vice President Fred Saul, was moved to mandate a permanent Heart Gallery installation in all Maine Pizza Hut locations.
Since September 2007, A Family for ME, with WGME Channel 13, has filmed two Thursday’s Child segments at the South Portland and Westbrook Pizza Hut restaurants. This program features a child who is available for adoption on the local news. During one of these filmings an employee at the South Portland Pizza Hut Bistro expressed that he was a Wednesday’s Child in Massachusetts and that the program had really helped him and his brother become adopted. This employee expressed to Kathy Antoine, Manager of South Portland Pizza Hut Bistro, that the Heart Gallery photographs and the Thursday’s Child program, “really works.” Kathy articulated her support of the Heart Gallery program by stating, “I have had nothing but positive feedback. You can just see where it touches everyone’s heart.” A Family for ME’s Southern Maine Recruiter, Patricia Brace, states, “all of the Pizza Hut managers and employees that I have had the honor to meet have been very supportive of the Heart Gallery program. I am grateful for Pizza Hut’s generosity and commitment to children, families and teens. A Family for ME’s collaboration with Pizza Hut is the most expansive, successful statewide recruitment effort that we have ever had the opportunity to be a part of.”
Pizza Hut continues to sponsor the Heart Gallery program as a viable way to help children and teens find permanent, safe, and loving families. If you would like more information about A Family for ME and the statewide collaboration with Pizza Hut please call 1-877-505-0454, or visit their website at www.afamilyforme.org