Ten Who Made a Difference: Ariane Jimison and Rachel Kalenberg

The first time Pizza Carrello gave away free pizza, its mobile oven was set up in the parking lot of Braccetto’s Salon.

There was $100 worth of dough and an idea. They would do “drive-by foodings,” giving people a free pizza as they waited for the traffic light to turn green.

“We were just trying to get rid of dough,” said co-owner Ariane Jimison, 41. “But it had this different effect on us.”

It went viral and got Pizza Carrello a lot of publicity, but more importantly it was in that moment they learned that “giving away free pizza isn’t that hard,” Jimison said.

Those are words that Jimison and co-owner Rachel Kalenberg, 38, have strived to live by since: “It’s amazing to know we’ve made that much of a difference in people’s lives. We’re just living our lives, doing what we think is right, and so to have it impact so many other people is really incredible.”

For years, they would look at the 10 Who Made a Difference list and thought it would be cool to one day join their community heroes — people like Leta Tanner, Sandy Daly and Dara Corkery — in the exclusive club.

“It feels miraculous and unlikely,” Jimison said. “I would be sort of fooling myself if I said it didn’t have an impact on what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be.”

“It’s amazing to know we’ve made that much of a difference in people’s lives,” Kalenberg said, adding that their goal isn’t to make millions of dollars.

“It’s about making Gillette the place we want to be,” she said.

They both worked for nonprofit organizations before starting Pizza Carrello, so the pair knows how tough it can be to go to people and businesses asking for money.

“When we see the institutions that do good, we want them to stay around and continue to do good,” Jimison said. “It’s one less thing on their budget, and it’s simple for us to do.”

The first big donation they made was to the Boys & Girls Club of Campbell County. Then it was the YES House, the Children’s Center, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

It was a chain reaction. Word spread from group to group that there was a local pizzeria that would donate pizza for nonprofit events.

“That opened the floodgates,” Jimison said.

Since then, Pizza Carrello has worked with a number of organizations, causes and events, including Fur Kids Foundation, PFLAG, the Saturday Farmers Market Farm to Table dinner and Meadowlark Elementary’s summer reading program, just to name a few.

Often, they do it free of charge.

This summer, when two coal mines shut down and left hundreds of miners out of work, Pizza Carrello offered the Coal Country discount.

“They’re our customers and they’re hurt,” Jimison said. “I know if I were in that position, it’d mean a lot and feel really good to know I had support.”

Karin Ebertz nominated the pair for 10 Who Made a Difference and said Jimison and Kalenberg do much more than make pizza.

“They make pizza with love, with creativity, with a zest for life,” she said, adding that it’s reflected in their employees.

“You realize the more good you’re doing, the bigger impact you have on people, the more it feeds back to you and you become more energized and can do even more,” Jimison said.

They’re committed to being part of the community that has supported them. A couple of years ago, their restaurant was vandalized. Customers started pouring in and it was busy for weeks on end.

Pizza Carrello had so much business from that one incident that it was able to make big donations to GARF and Wyoming Equality.

“It wouldn’t have felt right to have kept all that,” Jimison said.

“They express their gratitude about being able to work in this community and pursue their passion, and they just want to give back. That comes through loud and clear,” Ebertz said. “They’re just enthusiastic in whatever they do.”

It’s a light that never goes out, a gift that just keeps giving.

“It’s infinite,” Jimison said. “And the more you tap into it, the more you have.”

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