CHICAGO — John Carruthers usually bakes his Chicago tavern-style pizza from his home.

He founded Crust Fund Pizza at the height of the pandemic, selling pizzas out of his undisclosed alley in Logan Square, all the while donating every penny earned to charity.

“The coolest thing about Crust Fund [is] if I have a bad day, and I spend too much time on Twitter and feel awful about humanity, the way people not just want pizza, but want to support the organizations we’re highlighting every month,” Carruthers said. “Makes me feel better about humanity.”

Up until recently, you could only get Crust Fund Pizza out of said undisclosed alley, but that all changed when Carruthers got the invitation of a lifetime not too long ago.

“I just got an email out of the blue saying, ‘hey, we saw you’re selling pizzas in an alley, we’d love to talk to you about coming to New York and being on Chopped!'” Carruthers said.

So to New York he went, where he competed on Chopped in a competition that pitted different pizzas from around the country against one another.

Once he was back home, he helped plan a watch party for the debut of the Chopped episode Tuesday, and just like his regular pizza sales, every $100 dollar ticket sold at the event will be put right back into the community.

“I have never taken money for crust fund,” Carruthers said. “All the money tonight is going back to my block, my hood, my city and the Friendship Center.”

The Friendship Center Food Pantry, located on the Northwest Side of Chicago, serves meals to around 35,000 people in the community, some of which are paid for through the fundraising of Crust Fund Pizza.

“Several thousands of dollars,” said Justin Block, Executive Director of the Friendship Center Food Pantry, on how much money was raised at the watch party. “Several thousands of dollars, which equates to many, many more thousands of meals … I think Chicago really cares for its own.”

While Carruthers ended up finishing as a runner-up in his Chopped competition, you can keep track of the next opportunity to get yourself some Crust Fund Pizza on his Instagram, or you can read more on about Crust Fund Pizza on his website dedicated to the popup.