Everyday Hero: Sanford pizza shop owner donates to those impacted by Irma

By Jeff Allen, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, September 25, 2017, 6:46 AM EDT

Since Hurricane Irma hit Central Florida, many people have reached out to help others hit hard by the storm.

  • Mark Ingrassia of Marco's Pizza provided pizza, place to cool off
  • For years, he has helped the community in different ways

Mark Ingrassia stepped up when people in Seminole County were recovering from the storm. At Inrassia’s Marco’s Pizza franchise in Sanford, there’s not a lot of downtime. The pizza orders come in fast and furious.

“They come in as they come in and we have to be ready to get them out there as soon as possible,” said Ingrassia.

And right after Hurricane Irma moved through, Ingrassia’s business boomed. Many people lost power, but Ingrassia’s shop didn’t.

“Most people are looking to get out of the house, go somewhere where there’s air-conditioning, charge their phone if need be and get a hot meal,” said Ingrassia.

So, Ingrassia opened up shop. He was one of just a few that did right after Irma.

“So it’s a great feeling to give the people a place to go, give them something hot to eat,” said Ingrassia.
“We didn’t have a lot to offer, but what we did have to offer I think put a smile on their face, and that’s what we were looking to do.”

Ingrassia didn’t stop there. Busier than ever, he took time to make even more pizza, and delivered it first responders, power crews and even other good Samaritans. Some of those pizzas went to Safeharbor Church and Feed the Need, which delivered them to the homeless and people who still didn’t have power or food.

“This was a lady in Sanford feeding people out of her driveway. And they had such a response from people coming by and getting food that they were short, so we ended up bringing them a big stack of pizzas later that afternoon to make sure everybody that needed to get fed got fed,” said Ingrassia.

But the Longwood native’s generosity didn’t start after Irma. He’s been helping others for years. Every year he donates and delivers dozens of pizzas and salad to a camp for children with cancer at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando.

“And these are kids that some of them will come home, and some of them will never leave the hospital,” said Ingrassia.

Since Irma, he hasn’t taken much time to catch his breath. And he says he’ll continue to help his community whenever he can.

“I can’t do it all the time but when I can, I’m really fortunate to give the opportunity to other people and help other people when I can,” said Ingrassia.