Travis Owsley created Beverly’s Hearty Slice (BHS) in September 2020, dishing out pizza and other goodies in underserved areas. The name and mission pay homage to Owsley’s late mother, who always invited folks into her kitchen.
Owsley and a team of volunteers began serving Little Caesar’s Pizza every other week at Kendall-Perkins Park, and for nearly 3 years now, they haven’t missed a date, despite some very cold, snowy, and wet evenings. After obtaining nonprofit status in 2021, they added additional locations in Rolling Heights and Mechanicsville.
Beverly’s Hearty Slice continues to evaluate community needs, always hungry to do more and assist when possible.
“At the end of last year, we went through all of our messages on Facebook to determine where the need was and what we were missing,” Owsley said. “We discovered that several families needed help with their OMU bills and groceries, and the homeless community was looking for some resources – we had several messages in those three categories.”
The team took that information and ran with it.
Earlier this year, they partnered with OMU to provide 100 $50 discounts on utility bills, following up in March with 100 $25 gift cards to assist families with groceries. Two weeks ago, they provided one-night stays at the Hampton Inn to six families, including Little Caesars for lunch, a dinner at The Lure courteous of Ben Skiadis, and complimentary breakfast the following morning.
Owsley attended the Chamber’s Rooster Booster Breakfast earlier this month to hear guest speaker Dee Robinson of Next Era Energy. Community leader Bart Darrel put Owsley in touch with Robinson after the event, as she was eager to learn more about BHS and potentially lend some resources.
“I spoke with a contact at Next Era Energy soon after the event,” he said. “Within a day, I had a donation of $2,000, which we plan to use to host five families on Christmas Eve and five families on Christmas at the Hampton Inn.”
Along with meals, BHS is turning to the community for assistance in providing gifts and toys for the families to open during the occasion.
“We want those kids to really enjoy the experience and wake up and feel important,” Owsley said.
Mark Gaunya, a successful entrepreneur in the healthcare industry, randomly encountered Owsley during a flight layover a couple of years ago. The two shared the same heartache: missing their mom.
Gaunya contributed $10,000 to Owsley’s efforts and kickstarted an expansion plan, eventually joining the nonprofit as a board member.
In mid-July, Owsley will travel to Hopkinton, Massachusetts, to partner with Gaunya for BHS’s first event outside of Owensboro. Fortunately, the local Little Caesar’s saw the impact in Owensboro and was ecstatic to help.
Outside of the regularly scheduled pizza and water giveaways, BHS’s special events are listed below.
April 7: Carolina Campos organized a voter registration event at Kendall-Perkins Park and Girls Inc. to educate people about voting and understand the value of their voice and opinion.
June 2: The Beverly and Denise (Gaunya’s late mother) scholarship fund giveaway. BHS will present a $500 scholarship to five deserving graduates from each of the five local high schools.
July 22: BHS will host a kickball fundraiser at Jack C. Fischer Park, with two to three games guaranteed.
July 28: Sponsored by River Valley Behavioral Health and Owensboro Community and Technical College, BHS will pass out 500 backpacks full of school supplies. The local police force and fire departments will be present, interacting with the youth and passing out treats.
“This will be a fun and positive event with all kinds of inflatables and goodies,” Owsley said. “We really want to change the narrative surrounding police forces and create an environment where the officers can have fun with the kids and establish rapport.”
September 1: In partnership with Haley McGinnis Funeral Home, BHS will host a coat drive to help keep the community warm during winter.
October 20: BHS will partner with Souther Star to host a Halloween event with candy for kids and Little Caesar’s Pizza.
November 17: Also in partnership with Southern Star, BHS will distribute over 200 family-style take-home meals. The Owensboro Symphony will also be on site performing and interacting with the community.
December 15: With Don Moore Automotive, BHS will host its annual Christmas event, providing over 100 $20 gift cards to adults and more than 250 toys to kids. DJ Andrew Payne will be present, spinning the latest hits.
To stay up to date on all things Beverly’s Hearty Slice, visit beverlysheartyslice.com or follow them on Facebook here.
The Chamber Member of the Week program is a membership benefit of the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce. Founded in 1913, the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce has worked to provide valuable benefits and services to member businesses and individuals for over a century.
Today, with a membership base of nearly 1,000, the Chamber is a guiding force in community and business development initiatives, serving as the center of business advocacy for the Greater Owensboro region.
To learn more about becoming the Chamber Member of the Week or inquire about Chamber membership, contact Shelly Nichols, Chamber Vice President, at 270-926-1860 or [email protected].