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Pizza man uses secret ingredient to help children receiving treatment at area hospitals

Posted at 2:21 PM, Aug 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-27 18:34:09-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- When it comes to edible excellence Wayne Jennings, the Pizza Man, means business. Jennings is a touch executive chef, a dash mad professor and a huge helping of humanitarian. Jennings’ mission? Create the perfect pie. You won’t find Wayne’s secret ingredient in the pantry. It comes from the heart.

"I’m very passionate about pizza. I love pizza," Jennings said.

Wayne Jennings, the Pizza Man, means business

Wayne Jennings, the Pizza Man, means business

Wayne volunteers in the kitchen every other week at Ronald McDonald House in Richmond. When Wayne is working, pizza is always on the menu. The house on Monument Avenue is a home away from home for families with little loved ones receiving treatment at area hospitals.

"If there are young children in the house maybe eight or nine years old,  I’ll try to recruit them to put pepperoni on the pizza before it goes in the oven. So they have a feeling like it is their pizza," Jennings said.

Guests say Wayne delivers love in every single slice.

"He has so much passion for pizza, but he is passionate for people and it is awesome to see," RMH Director of Development Allison Santos said.

Brandi Heath’s three-year-old son Kalen lives with an eating disorder. In her five weeks at Ronald McDonald House, Brandi said Wayne’s colorful creations helped ease the burden of being away from her North Carolina home.

"I think he gives us a sense of normalcy," Brandi said. "And he gives us what a true sense of what giving back is."

On his quest for the perfect pie, the Pizza Man can prove he can fill more than just empty stomachs. He feeds the soul and that is a recipe for success.

"I feel it is important to give back to the community," Jennings said. "This really fulfills the need that I have."

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Greg McQuade and CBS 6 News are featuring local heroes in a weekly “Heroes Among Us” segment. Watch Greg’s reports Thursdays on CBS News at 6 or here on WTVR.com. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured on “Heroes Among Us,” click here to email heroes@wtvr.com.