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Clarksville pizza place launches non-profit to help community members in need

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Posted at 8:53 PM, May 17, 2023

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — We all know those people who just have it in their heart to help. That certainly describes the family behind a Clarksville pizza place. They're taking their mission to a new level.

You hear that title, Caprigios Pizza, you assume it's a family name. It is of a sort.

"My three children," smiled Ilona Rivera, referring to where Caprigios is derived. "Carlos. Priscilla. Giovanni."

Ilona has run her Clarksville business for close to five years.

"When you walk in, you're like, 'it smells really good in here!'" she laughed.

"When I come in, they already know what I wanna get and how I like it!" said one customer.

There's another purpose to Caprigios.

When wounded veteran Wayne Flaitz's truck broke down, he didn't have the money to repair it.

"I was looking for help, and I couldn't find any," Wayne said. "Then, I posted something on one of the Clarksville pages, and she responded. She sent money to fix my truck. She doesn't ask for anything back. She doesn't even bring up the subject of giving anything back."

"Electric bills, I pay for people," said Ilona. "Water bills, rent."

Ilona explained her giving nature comes in part from her own tragedy.

"My daughter passed away 11 years ago — Priscilla," she said. "I didn't have enough money for her funeral expenses. Without God, I would not be where I am today. He has helped sustain me. The worst thing ever to happen to anyone is to lose a child. It is the worst, absolute worst."

Ilona has just launched the Caprigios Foundation nonprofit where people can donate through a Cash App or Venmo to help others in their community.

"I wish [my daughter] was still here to enjoy all of this," Ilona said.

"I just want to thank her not only for what she has done but what she continues to do," said Wayne.

"If you're in the position to do so, giving back is the best thing you can do," said Ilona. "Why not?"

To help the Caprigios Foundation, you can donate through Venmo at @caprigiosfoundation and through Cash App at $caprigiosfoundation.