HILLSBOROUGH – For the past year, Bella Pizza Owner Akhtar Farzaie has been driving all around Somerset County in his Bella Pizza concession trailer, providing his New York Style pizza and other fan-favorite concession stand food items to people at public and private events.
As people come up to get their food, they see a slogan on the pizza concession trailer saying, “Impacting Lives One Slice at a Time.”
That slogan represents the driving force behind Farzaie’s new mobile establishment and his mission to give back to the community.
Farzaie and his Hillsborough Township based pizzeria donate a portion of the proceeds they make from the Bella Pizza concession trailer to local charities and food shelters.
“It’s been a great journey so far,” Farzaie said. “You’re getting the same taste and ingredients that you would get at the restaurant and can also help those in need.”
Safe Harbor, Hillsborough Food Pantry, The Samaritan Homeless Interim Program (SHIP) and The Center for Great Expectations are among the local organizations that Farzaie has donated funds to over the last year.
Donations have been made in a variety of ways by Farzaie and Bella Pizza.
In addition to money donations, Farzaie has used the proceeds to buy fresh ingredients to make different types of meals to be given out at food shelters.
Farzaie also uses the funds for meal-train purposes to support families in need. This provides families an opportunity to receive a meal from Bella Pizza where they can order anything on the menu and the restaurant will cover it.
Proceeds have been used by Farzaie to buy items like socks and back-to-school supplies for children as well.
“Wherever there’s a need, I’m here to help out,” Farzaie said.
Farzaie debuted his Bella Pizza truck at last year’s Hillsborough Rotary Fair, which he said was an “honor.”
He said he is “very much looking forward” to being a vendor at this year’s fair that will run from August 16-20.
“The Hillsborough Rotary Club does an amazing job,” Farzaie said. “It was a great experience doing (the Rotary Fair) last year. It was really great to see how many people came out and gave back to the community.”
Farzaie said he has catered around 10 private parties over the last year with the Bella Pizza trailer and brings the pizza concession truck out to other festivals and sporting events in the area.
So far this summer, Farzaie’s Bella Pizza truck has been a vendor at both the Hillsborough Independence Day Celebration and the Somerset County Park Commission’s Independence Day Celebration.
Bella Pizza has been a mainstay in Hillsborough since 2005.
Farzaie, who currently lives in nearby Somerville, calls Hillsborough “home” as well. He has enjoyed giving back to the Hillsborough community and becoming part of the township for the last 15 years.
“The (Hillsborough) community has been great towards us,” he said. “It has been our home. If you want to be a part of a community, you need to support the community and make it a great place for people to want to come be a part of.”
Farzaie said his mission by creating the Bella Pizza truck is “not about getting any type of applause from people. It’s all about the cause in helping those in need” and he hopes other establishments will do the same in the future.
“I hope this can inspire more restaurants to give back to their community in any way [they can],” he said.