Community rallies around Lelulo's Pizzeria after burglary, free student lunches continue - Plum

Community rallies around Lelulo’s Pizzeria after burglary, free student lunches continue

Wednesday, March 18, 2020 | 2:23 PM

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.

The phrase never rang more true for Patyn McCune than Tuesday morning when the young owner of Lelulo’s Pizzeria walked up to her shop and found it had been burglarized.

Her shop at 311 Unity Trestle Road in Plum has been offering free lunches for children this week in response to the coronavirus shutting down schools.

The shop’s front window had been broken after someone hurled a rock through it, according to Plum police Officer Daniel Moriarty.

“Right now, we don’t have any suspects, but there are some people I’m trying to track down,” Moriarty said. The officer said the burglary happened about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday. There is surveillance video of the incident, he said.

Moriarty declined to say how much money was stolen. He said the detail is irrelevant because all the money — and then some — was replaced.

“Someone dropped off $1,000 (at the pizza shop) within the first 10 minutes of me being there,” Moriarty said.

Shortly after the burglary, McCune let her Facebook followers know the shop had been burglarized and asked for patience as she figured out what to do.

She said the person took a little more than $100 out of the cash box, and she had already spent around $900 to buy extra food to offer children free lunches. She expects fixing the window to cost her “well over $1,000.”

But quicker than it takes to bake a pizza, the community responded by creating a GoFundMe page that ended up raising $4,150.

She said strangers came to the shop to help clean up. In all, Lelulo’s closed only for about an hour past the daily 11 a.m. opening.

“The first thing I felt was mostly anger. I didn’t really have time to be sad,” McCune said. “I was trying to do something good in the community for the kids, you know? Why would people do good things if bad things are going to happen? That changed though. … It ended up being a good day yesterday.”

McCune, 27, of Plum is a mother of an 11-month-old son and is due with another in July. She bought the business about four years ago after managing the shop for a year or two.

She said she deactivated the online fundraiser because she didn’t want to receive more than the burglary cost.

With the extra money raised following the burglary, McCune extended the free lunch offer for another week and is planning a “Slice of Hope” event where she will offer free food to customers as a “thank you.”

When she learned Pennsylvania schools would close for 10 days as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus, she thought about the children who might lose out on lunch.

“I thought, ‘How are they going to eat?’ Especially if their parents have to go to work and the kids are home alone. That was basically the stuff that affected me when I was a kid,” she said.

The offer exploded. Her pizzeria received donations of cases of bottled water, milk cartons, apple slices and carrots.

She said she qualified for free and reduced-price lunches as a child, her mother working as a server to provide. Her father laid asphalt for work before he died in 2005.

“In times like these, good things do happen,” she said, adding her father must be watching over her.