Local businesses have arguably been hit the hardest during the past year, many of them being forced to close their doors permanently.
Yet that hasn't dampened the generosity of Pasquale Presa, the owner of Pasquale's Pizzaria. He says it's part of his culture to help those around him.
Even before the pandemic began, Pasquale worked closely with Rochester Public Schools- donating pizzas to families and speaking to ESL students, as he himself went through public schools with English as his second language. He also regularly donated meals to homeless shelters, frontline workers, and non-profit organizations.
Since the start of the pandemic, he's had to make some adjustments but has continued his commitment to giving.
The pizzeria began making frozen pizzas to be available at Hyvee to keep the store's shelves stocked. They also began packing individual meals to be available for families.
On Christmas Eve, they posted on their Facebook page they had 200 packaged meals available for pickup for families in need. More than 350 people showed up at Pasquale's front door, and instead of turning the extra 150 away, he and his team got to work and packed more meals.
Yet the giving doesn't stop there. Pasquale also set up a Go-Fund-Me page where people can donate, he'll match their donation and deliver pizzas to families and organizations around Rochester. So far, he's raised nearly $3,000.
He says giving back is a core value that's been instilled in him since he was a child. "Coming to America as an immigrant, coming from a small town and not having much, I find it within me to be able to give all the time. That's the way we grew up - you share."