Pizza delivery in Newport County on Super Bowl weekend adds message


MIDDLETOWN — The Super Bowl and pizza deliveries are often synonymous, so the Middletown Prevention Coalition thought pizza boxes would be great containers for an alcohol education campaign.

The Super Bowl, St. Patrick’s Day, prom and high school graduation, and summertime activities have been identified as “high-risk times of year for alcohol consumption,” said Lori Verderosa, director from the Middletown Prevention Coalition, citing data collected from Middletown surveys. students.

The coalition launches small messaging initiatives at these times of the year, guided by the “Talk. They Hear You,” a prevention program that takes a family-centered approach to alcohol and drug education.

“It’s a campaign aimed at parents,” Verderosa said. Conversations at home between caregivers and children are “the most effective way to educate our children, change their attitudes, and then guide their behaviors,” Verderosa said, citing prevention literature.

The coalitions will provide flyers to local pizzerias to affix to boxes shipped during Super Bowl weekend.

“We tried to find creative ways to reach our parents in Middletown,” Verderosa said. “Everyone is ordering pizza for the game.”

Aquidneck Pizzeria, Carmella’s Pizzeria, Domino’s, Pizza Hollywood and Port Pizza weren’t convincing to participate, Verderosa said.

“They support what we do.”

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The pamphlet encourages families to discuss the risks and dangers of underage drinking. Just over 1,700 pizza boxes are expected to come out this weekend with the message, Verderosa said.

“We do a lot for the community because the community is so good to us,” said Maria Fombellida, owner of Pizza Hollywood. His willingness to participate in the campaign was “a way to give back to them…to keep these kids strong, this community strong.”

“COVID has done so much and affected our young people in so many ways,” said Helen Sowinski, president of the Middletown Prevention Coalition. “They feel disconnected from their friends,” and there are other stressors.

Alcohol has been used as a coping mechanism for some young people, Sowinski said, citing comments from children. She stressed the importance of conversations within families.


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