Wednesday, February 11, 2015

People In Philadelphia Pay It Forward At Local Pizza Shop

People In Philadelphia Pay It Forward At Local Pizza Shop

Everyone who owns a pizza shop decorates it different, at Rosa's Fresh Pizza in Philadelphia, the shop is covered with letters and Post-it notes. Customers are the ones leaving the messages because they gave $1 so homeless people within the community could eat.

"The homeless, they come in and say, 'I hear you give out free pizza to homeless people,' " says owner Mason Wartman. 

According to Wartman, it started about a year ago when one customer decided to buy a slice of pizza for a homeless person. "I said, 'Sure.' I took his dollar and ran out and got some Post-it notes and put one up to signify that a slice was purchased," he recalls. 

"Over the past nine months", Wartman says, "clients have bought 8,400 slices of pizza for their homeless neighbors." He would keep track of how many slices were purchased with Post-it notes on the walls.  Eventually 500 slices were bought and he had to change the tracking system.  He now keeps track at the register. 

The customers still want to keep writing their motivations and thanks by writing letters and sticky notes.  

An example of a message is, "I just want to thank everyone that donated to Rosa's; it gave me a place to eat everyday and the opportunity to get back on my feet. I start a new job tomorrow!" 


Wartman says the pay-it-forward method at his tiny Philly pizza shop has made him think about customers' motivations. "They're just really nice people, you know? Sometimes homeless people buy them for other homeless people." He says people want to help but aren't sure what to do. "This is a super-easy way, a super-efficient way and a super-transparent way to help the homeless." 

Since the program came into effect, Wartman hasn't needed to advertise.  With all the "paid forward" pizza that he receives he doesn't have to turn away homeless. Each day about 30 to 40 homeless people come in asking for a free slice. 

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