Viera Pizza changes lives one slice at a time


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Brittany Streufert, left, Mike Acosta and Santa Claus welcome runners across the finish line.

VIERA VOICE Jill Blue Gaines

 

Almost everyone loves pizza, and Mike Acosta, the owner of Viera Pizza, loves his community. To show appreciation for the support customers gave his business and how fast it grew, he wanted to give back.

In 2012, Acosta discussed this with Brittany Streufert, who comes each Friday for her pizza fix. The two knew each other from running local races.

“When he mentioned starting a 5K race to benefit the community, she told him, ‘go for it,' not knowing he already had designated the race director spot for her,” Acosta's website states.

Despite neither of them having any race management experience, the Eat My Crust 5K Run/Walk was born.

Six successful Eat My Crust 5K events resulted in more than $100,000 given to the Viera High School Athletic Department, Special Olympics of Brevard County and the Early Steps Program, which helps disabled children younger than 3.

“Organizing these races has a three-part reward system,” Acosta said. “No. 1, we get to promote and support the running community. No. 2, we are able to donate to need causes. No. 3, we get to see all the smiling faces at the race after parties.”

To further their cause, Acosta and Streufert organized the nonprofit Power of Pizza Charities. POP is a 501(c)3 organization, complete with a board of directors and full schedule of fundraising events.

Their stated mission follows: "To inspire youth and adults to participate in sporting events to improve their lives and health while raising funds to support local schools, athletic organizations and child development programs."

Upcoming events include The Run Run Santa 1 Mile, which will take place Dec. 23. Proceeds will benefit Calvary Chapel Viera's 412 Youth Missions and Outreach program.

Another Run Run Santa 1 Mile will take place Dec. 24 at another location. It will benefit TLC Newborn.

“Race participants range in age from 4 to 84," Streufert said. ” Last year, a 79-year-old man ran a mile in 8 minutes, 58 seconds."

Streufert recalled a small boy with cerebral palsy who reached the finish line.

“It choked me up to see how happy he was and his mother, too,” she said.

For race details and information about Power of Pizza Charities, go to powerofpizzacharities.org/2.html or call 321-412-1830.

Viera Pizza, where it all began, is at 5450 Stadium Parkway, Melbourne. For information, call 321-636-7696 or go to vierapizza.com/.