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Local business provides pizza with a purpose

Jan. 6, 2022—Pizza is a popular menu item in CFISD schools. The CFISD nutrition services department will order close to 560,000 pizzas throughout the year, that’s equivalent to 18 acres of pizza or 3 ½ football fields.

Darin Crawford, director of nutrition services, said CFISD is fortunate to have a local business meeting the pizza needs of the district.

Alpha Foods Co. is located in Waller and is a family-owned business making pizza sold in grocery stores and for the National School Lunch Program.

“Their business has been so crazy busy this year,” Crawford said. “They actually have added an extra shift on Saturdays, so they bring their production staff in on Saturday specifically to make pizza for Cy-Fair.”

Founded by George Sarandos, company leadership currently falls to his daughter and vice president, Maria Bowen.

“So, my parents were both from Greece,” Bowen said. “My dad, George, always had a passion for making pizzas, and that passion really came from when he was in the U.S. Army, he went to Germany, and that was the very first time he’d ever laid his eyes on what pizza was.”

In 2017 after, Hurricane Harvey, CFISD called on Alpha Foods Co. to help feed the community.

“In the immediate aftermath I called Maria at Alpha and I said, 'Can you donate some pizza to us’?” said Crawford. “She said, ‘absolutely, I will send you a pallet of pizza.’ What makes it really special to me is at that particular point, we were not a customer of Alpha.”

Bowen said helping your neighbors in a time of need is just what they do.

“That was a very difficult time for everyone, and we felt very fortunate that we had our facility unharmed,” Bowen said. “And when one of our neighbors calls for help, you know, we had no option other than to lend a hand, because I know they've been there for us, as all the other districts, too.”

Years later, Alpha Foods is still making pizza and distributing to school districts in 18 states, including several Houston-area school districts.

“We especially love to give back, and as a local Texas pizza company, we want to support our school districts as much as possible,” Bowen said. “So, what we do at Alpha is much more than just make pizzas, you know, 24/7. We are feeding the children.”

A Cypress Lakes High School student is served a slice of pizza during lunch.