Sunday pizza cook-off will benefit kids with autism

Staff report


Area pizza establishments will compete to earn the title of “Maestro Di Cucina” in the 2013 Mahoning Valley Pizza Cook-Off from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday at Mr. Anthony’s, 7740 South Ave.

The public will vote for a “People’s Choice” Award.

Proceeds from ticket sales as well as silent and live auctions will benefit the Potential Development Program’s School of Autism.

The funds will help to expand services to high school-age children with autism-spectrum disorders, providing individualized educational services as well as speech, occupational and physical therapies. The Potential Development Program teaches 90 students in preschool through eighth grade.

“The Potential Development Program is a private nonprofit agency that has been serving local children with autism and other developmental delays for 60 years,” said Paul Garchar, executive director of the Potential Development Program/School for Autism. “We have been experiencing a growing demand for our programs, and because we provide services to all children regardless of their ability to pay, this fundraiser helps us to continue to meet the increasing needs.”

Local celebrities will judge the pizza competition. They include WYTV-33 news anchor Stan Boney; radio personality John Caparanis; Simon Roofing’s Rick Cook; Compco Industries Gwen Smith-Darnell; Cleveland Browns lineman John Greco; United Way executive director Bob Hannon; businessman John Kuflietner; WKBN-27 Morning Show anchor Jeff Levkulich; “The World’s Strongest Redneck” Steve McGranahan; professional boxing judge Tom Miller; Mix 98.9 morning personality Chrissy Patrick; state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman; and Youngstown State football coach Eric Wolford.

Sponsors include Simon Surfaces, Compco Industries, Columbiana and Salem Chrysler Jeep Dodge, WYTV, Mix 98.9, Home Savings Charitable Foundation, Akron Children’s Hospital, Cocca’s Pizza, Kernan Insurance Agency, Save-A-Lot Stores, Wells Fargo Insurance and VEC, Inc.

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