2021: Our Year of Giving Back

In many ways, 2021 felt like a repeat of 2020 — a year of uncertainty and unprecedented change in how we live our daily lives. Our friends, families and communities have all been affected in some way by the continued impacts of COVID-19. Amidst the chaos and uncertainty, however, there has been a constant; the tireless dedication of those who work so hard to support those in need, despite the challenges.

Although COVID impacted the ways in which we typically have supported our communities, we have partnered with many wonderful organizations in a variety of ongoing programs, and you — our customers — have made it possible for us to maximize support of many deserving recipients doing important work.

Seasonal Special Donations

In Massachusetts, we continued our ongoing partnership with Cooking Matters MA – an organization which helps connect families with affordable and nutritious meal options. “Cooking Matters is helping end childhood hunger by inspiring families to make healthy, affordable food choices. [Their] programs teach parents and caregivers with limited food budgets to shop for and cook healthy meals.” $1 of each monthly special pie sold from our Massachusetts locations goes to Cooking Matters MA. This year, we have donated over $11,000 directly to the organization.

In Maine, we continued to work with Full Plates Full Potential as one of their FEED Kids partners. Full Plates, Full Potential is an organization dedicated to ending child hunger in Maine. “[Their] work focuses on increasing participation in school breakfast, after school meals, and summer meal programs.” We’ve donated $1 of each monthly special sold from our Maine locations to Full Plates Full Potential since March. This has allowed us to donate over $12,000 directly to the organization.

Feeding the Frontline

Another group that’s been severely strained by this pandemic is healthcare workers. They have gone through extraordinary efforts to heal and protect their patients and our communities, working tirelessly around the clock dealing with scenarios that many of us cannot imagine. In April of 2020, we began our Feeding the Frontline initiative – a donation-based framework that supports both restaurants and frontline workers during the COVID-19 crisis by turning customer donations into nourishment for healthcare workers throughout Maine and Massachusetts.

In 2021, we received over $75,000 in customer donations that we’ve turned into countless orders, feeding thousands of healthcare workers and first responders ($125,000 in donations have been received since May 2020, the start of the initiative). We are both amazed and extremely humbled by the support we’ve received, and can tell you first hand how appreciative our healthcare heroes have been to benefit from this program. Below are a few of the facilities we’ve made deliveries to as a part of this initiative:

  • Maine Medical Center
  • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Maine General Hospital
  • Brigham & Women’s Hospital
  • Boston Medical Center
  • Salem Hospital
  • St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center
  • Carney Hospital
  • Maine Cancer Center
  • Mid Coast Hospital
  • Mount Auburn Hospital
  • Mercy Hospital
  • US Coast Guard
  • Preble Street
  • Good Shepherd Food Bank
  • Various vaccine sites throughout Maine and Massachusetts

Tips For Kids

In 2020, a new initiative was started at our Southie location in which all tips are donated to a deserving local charity. This initiative has since grown to include our South End and Beverly locations.

In 2021, customers of these locations have made the following donations possible:

With all of that said, we owe a huge thanks to our customers. The programs and initiatives above would not be possible without your support. While many of us continued to spend much of the year in relative isolation, the power of community has never been more evident. As we reflect on this difficult year, we are incredibly thankful for our staff, our customers, our partners and our communities. We wish each of you a healthy and happy holiday season, and look forward to seeing your smiling faces in the new year.

OTTO’s Fundraiser Series – Updated Schedule for Boston and Portland

Several great reasons to eat an entire pizza without feeling guilty.

PrintOTTO is pleased to be hosting an ongoing series of fundraiser nights to benefit regional charities and community organizations. At each event, a portion of sales will be donated to the dedicated organization.

The series, which began in February of 2013, runs weekly in both Maine and Massachusetts, with Maine fundraisers taking place at OTTO’s new 574 Congress Street expansion, and the Massachusetts fundraisers taking place at OTTO’s BU location at 888 Commonwealth Avenue. The events are from 5pm – 9pm unless otherwise noted.

OTTO looks forward to partnering with many wonderful regional charities, schools, and non-profit organizations. The fundraiser series further extends OTTO’s philanthropic initiatives – the restaurant has been actively supporting charities and non-profits since opening its doors in 2009.

25945_10151427371857650_1879767039_nIn addition to raising funds, OTTO owners and staff hope the events will help raise awareness, encourage dialogue, and provide a venue for networking, brainstorming, and speaking with potential volunteers. OTTO also looks forward to working more closely with organizations and becoming better acquainted with those who dedicate their time to these causes.

The series is still in its infancy, and OTTO encourages charities, schools, and organizations to reach out to discuss opportunities. Those interested should send an email to contactus@ottoportland.com.

As of this writing the schedule is as follows (all dates are subject to change):

OTTO 574 Congress St. Portland (Arts District)salt

May 28 – Community Television Network
June 4 – SPACE Gallery
June 11 – Salt Institute for Documentary Studies
July 2 – Environmental Health Strategy Center
July 9 – Maine Youth Leadership
June 25 – KidsPeace
August 6 – Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership of Maine
August 13 – Portland Youth Dance
August 20 – International Children’s Enrichment Program

logoOTTO 888 Comm Ave, Boston (across from BU)
May 27 – Brookline Literacy Partnership

Please consider supporting these organizations by stopping by OTTO during their events. A percentage of each purchase will go directly to the organization. It’s a great opportunity to eat an entire pizza without the guilt!