NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / April 5, 2022 / Philanthropist and owner of the restaurant chain Champion Pizza, Hakki Akdeniz, has been nominated for the Points of Light award. This nomination does not come lightly, as Hakki has over exemplified himself as the ideal candidate for this award through his countless acts of giving throughout his career as a successful pizzeria owner.
Having been homeless himself, Hakki understands what it is like to have nothing. He is the true epitome of the American Dream, having started from nothing to now owning one of the most successful pizza chains in New York City. Hakki’s humble origins began in a small village in Turkey called Silvan, where he started working full time at nine years old to support his family. His education is limited to elementary school, which is when he dropped out due to financial circumstances to work more to make money for his family.
Hakki migrated to Canada from Turkey, and from Canada to New York in 2001. There Hakki was struggling to find a place to sleep, clean clothes to sleep in, and food to eat. This was the first time in his life that he was homeless and felt helpless. Despite having all of the odds against him, Hakki managed to work his way up, first working as a pizzeria chef knowing nothing initially to know owning his very own pizza brand.
Now, Hakki is on a mission to give back to those in need, just like how he was once in need. Over 10 years, two days a week not missing a single day, Hakki gives food, clothes, and medicine to homeless people all over New York City. 20 hours a week of his time is devoted to this philanthropic endeavor, where he takes time out of his already busy personal life to serve those who are less fortunate.
Hakki does not take his success for granted and seeks to spread it to others as much as he can. He presents himself as the ideal business owner, one who is efficient in business yet giving in nature. We asked Hakki how he transitions the homeless into people with their lives together. Hakki replied, “First I take them to the doctor to make sure they are healthy and ensure that nothing is wrong with them health wise. Then, I take them to a barber and get them cleaned up. Next, I take them to a gym so they can take a shower. Finally, I take them to a clothing store to dress them up nicely. Also, I educate them on the necessary steps they can take to achieve success like I did.”
If anything, Hakki’s track record shows undoubtedly a history of philanthropy throughout his career. His motto is that we can only improve the world by giving. He says that “We need to begin looking at homeless people who are human just like us, who need help just like any other loved ones. No one deserves to stay in the streets like that. A lot of us dealt great hand in life, but most of us take this for granted. Not all of us realize that one day, it is very possible that anybody could end up homeless, helpless, and in need, just like I once was. Therefore, you should not be too quick to judge others when you may not know why they are in the condition that they are in. Humility will take you to every level. To be human includes knowing how to give, be kind, and spread good. I think these are values which we are losing sight of, which is why I am doing what I am doing to truly communicate to people’s hearts that you too can make a change in this world. There is no way to help every person in need, but we can still give them hope, and that is more than enough.”
When we see that there are people like this in the world, it inspires hope to others that change can indeed be made no matter the circumstances. We should all aspire to be like Hakki, as he has set the precedent for what it means to be human, by living through giving.
SOURCE: Hakki Akdeniz
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