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MailTribune.com
  • Pizza lady delivering slice of nice to needy

  • COOS BAY — Wearing a feathered cap and riding a home-built cargo bike, Bittin Duggan is easily the most unorthodox delivery person in town.
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  • COOS BAY — Wearing a feathered cap and riding a home-built cargo bike, Bittin Duggan is easily the most unorthodox delivery person in town.
    Every day, the mother of two delivers leftover pizza to the area's homeless population. She's waging a one-woman war on hunger, and she'll get there by any means necessary.
    Duggan, who runs art therapy workshops for individuals with traumatic brain injuries, said she first got involved with homeless advocacy after holding a workshop at the Nancy Devereux Center in Empire.
    While staff members and visitors were polite, Duggan said they weren't necessarily enthusiastic about her visit.
    "I realized these people really didn't need art classes," she said, laughing.
    Looking for other ways to help, Duggan forged an agreement with a local pizza purveyor. The store — which asked not to be identified in this article — gives her the previous day's leftover pizza and appetizers.
    The only requirement: She must take all of the restaurant's leftovers on a given day.
    Duggan partially credits her own challenging life experiences with helping her empathize with the homeless.
    While in college, Duggan suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car wreck. The crash put her in a coma for five days. After she woke up, she faced an uphill battle relearning motor and cognitive skills.
    Duggan said she'll bike, drive or walk the pizzas to the delivery points, depending on the weather and her route.
    Duggan said she'll drop off anywhere from one to six pizzas in a day. Some stops are unplanned, occurring when she sees a group of homeless people she recognizes. Other times, she'll drop off pizzas at the Devereux Center.
    Duggan's children are in school most of the time, so they don't have as much interaction with the homeless as she does. But they generally have a positive outlook toward the people she helps. "I think children have a good emotional sense of a person," she said.
    Duggan said her clientele seems to be growing. On one recent trip, one first-timer assigned her an honorary title: "the pizza lady."
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