By Carole Robinson, Staff Writer
Devin Cundall opened Brother’s Pizza Company with a vision to support ministry work locally and internationally. Staying true to his vision to change the world for Christ, Cundall has generously supported local charities while also providing food for hungry children in Third World countries through the Feed Yourself, Feed the World Program.
Meredith and Rob Kendall began the Against the Grain ministry to help single mothers become contributing members of society, but the mission grew. The Kendalls recognized the need to help the children so they didn’t end up single parents and expanded to help men and women in jail overcome the issues that led them to make wrong decisions and when released become productive citizens.
As the Kendall’s mission grew, a bond developed between the two mission-driven companies and when Rob arranged for Brother’s Pizza to hire Connie when she was released from jail, a light went on.
“The biggest problem for people coming out of jail and single moms is getting back into the work force,” Meredith said.
We realized we needed a place for them to train and get rid of a lack of employment gap that impairs the chances of finding a job, she explained.
“It’s all well and good to do the teaching on the inside, but what do they do when they get out?” Meredith said. “Some need accountability as they adjust – we can offer that.”
On Jan.1 the mission and vision were merged and Against the Grain took ownership of Brother’s Pizza Company as a continuation and expansion of services to men, women and children struggling to overcome abuse, addiction and negative cycles.
“It was a natural fit,” Meredith said. “We are finishing the vision Devin had and we are going to continue to further it.”
When Against the Grain started out, the goal was to have a training center.
“This is what we wanted to do originally,” Meredith said. “To help them get skills not just book knowledge, then have a resume and get rid of the lapse of employment. We are finally getting back to our original idea.”
Brother’s Pizza will still provide great pizza, pasta and salads and it will provide hands on training in job readiness, leadership, budgeting, customer service, answering the phone, placing supply orders, computer skills, cleaning and cooking to help people so, “when they get out of jail or crisis centers, they stay out.”
Connie will still be the manager.
Since Brother’s Pizza can’t possibly employ everyone in need, the Kendalls are working with other organizations and businesses to provide training services.
As part of the Families First program – the new welfare system – individuals may collect checks for five years but they must work a minimum 30-hour week.
“If they don’t know what to do they get discouraged,” Meredith said. “We take their big goals and make them bite-sized and manageable. That helps them get passed discouragement, the victim mentality and self-sabotage. They believe everything goes bad because of past experience.”
In five years they can go to college, but if they don’t know how to get in or where to go; if they need child care for a job or school – Against the Grain is there to help and guide.
The Kendalls will continue to teach their 180 Program in jails and crisis centers, however for several years they have been teaching the Program to organizations like churches and crisis centers in an effort to reach more who need their services. The Program is now found in four states.
In the next couple months there will be some changes at Brother’s Pizza.
They want to expand the lunch crowd by offering Mommy and Me lunches, Bingo for the senior community located behind the store, $6 lunches and slice specials.
“The menu will be the same with the addition of new items – like our award-winning chili,” Meredith said.
The Kendall Chili won the Chili Cook-off two years in a row.
“Now people can come in the winter for our award-winning chili and bread sticks.”
Brother’s Pizza is located at 1441 New Highway 96 in Franklin.
Posted on: 1/3/2013