Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ

Pizza Feed

The Malinow family – with their employees, friends and extended family — have been putting on a pizza feed for the men at Hoyt Street Shelter each December for two decades. The family’s and employees’ commitment to Hoyt Street (formerly Glisan Street Shelter) is an annual tradition. As Wendy Malinow says, “It’s one of our favorite things during the holidays.” This year, with COVID-19 restrictions, the Malinows still provided the feast but had to step back from serving.

Hoyt Street is one of the many longtime missions Kairos-Milwaukie UCC members support. Until the recent pandemic, KMUCC groups and families provided and served dinner once each month to between 80 and 100 men living in the shelter. Other organizations feed the men on the other days of the month. During COVID-19, Kairos members are providing funds for the meal.

Hoyt Street is part of the work of Transition Projects, whose mission is to help people transition from homelessness to housing. The agency offers programs and resources to individuals through case workers, health care, mentorship and housing.

Because the Malinows own American Dream Pizza, it’s easy to come up with a menu. Besides the main course, they traditionally prepare salad, vegetables and Rice Krispy Treats. Dan Balmer and his family bring gallons of milk.

Sebastian Malinow at American Dream Pizza 1985

Sebastian Malinow when he opened American Dream Pizza in 1985

The younger Malinows, Max and Chester, were in primary school when the tradition began. Their friends often joined them to serve the food. “At the time, homelessness was much less pervasive and obvious than it is now,” Wendy says. “Most of our sons’ friends didn’t directly experience hunger and poverty. At the shelter, they were exposed to the need for the first time. A few of the pals volunteered for many years. I think it meant a lot to them,” she says. “Our church does a huge amount for such a small congregation,” Wendy says. “I am always impressed with how organized we are and how many people step up every month for Hoyt Street. It never feels like a chore."


Max and Chester Malinow