Ottawa's 'Pizza Dad' receives worldwide support in Christmas campaign

Darren, a single dad of three young kids and a pizza chef at an Ottawa pizzeria, is receiving a little bit of boost this Christmas thanks to some strangers from around the globe.

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His co-worker Joshua Barbour recently launched an online fundraising campaign for Darren, whom he affectionately nicknamed "Pizza Dad," to help give his children a Christmas to remember.

"We were working late…and we got to talk about kids," Joshua Barbour told CTV Ottawa.

Darren takes care of his children, ages 3, 2 and 11 months old, largely on his own, except for some help from his parents when he works late shifts.

Barbour says Darren was worried about making ends meet this month, so he decided to share "Pizza Dad's" story with the world.

"EVERYTHING he makes goes back to his kids to provide for them," Barbour wrote on Imgur. Being a pizza cook is not lucrative as you can imagine. But he works hard, and provides for his family."

Barbour said Darren’s story "hit home."

"He never complains and when he told me his story. It wasn't about being sad. He's happy with what he has and doesn't look for sympathy," Barbour wrote online.

Barbour launched a GoFundMe campaign earlier this week with a $2,000 goal to help Darren pay for rent, groceries and bills for the month.

He also asked individuals in the Ottawa area for toy and gift card donations for Darren's children.

In the two days since launching the campaign, more than $5,000 has been raised, with donations coming in from as far away as Chile, Australia and Japan.

Darren, meanwhile, was unaware of the fundraiser until Tuesday, when Barbour delivered the news that left him speechless.

"I couldn't take it all in at that point," Darren said. "I am not a hugging kind of person, but I gave (Barbour) a big hug.”

He said a portion of the money will be donated to The Snowsuit Fund, which raises money for snowsuits for children in need, and the rest will go towards ensuring his children have a great Christmas.

"Like the ones I used to have when I was a kid," he said.


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