A Pizzeria in Philadelphia Is Paying It Forward and Feeding the Homeless
News| | By Jason Owen
Mason Wartman had a cushy Wall Street job in New York City, making a very good living. But there was something missing in his life. Pizza! Well, not exactly, but he had always dreamed of owning his own business. So he quit, moved to Philadelphia, and opened Rosa’s Fresh Pizza.
Then, one day, a customer did something that would change Wartman’s business – and life – forever. A man walked into the $1-a-slice pizza joint, ordered a slice for himself, and asked if he could buy a slice for a homeless person.
“I said, ‘Sure,'” Wartman told National Public Radio. “I took his dollar and ran out and got some Post-it Notes, and put one up to signify that a slice was purchased.”
This system of “paying it forward” became a Philly phenomenon, so to speak. Over the next year, customers would purchase more than 10,000 slices of pizza, free for homeless individuals or anyone struggling to help make ends meet.
Customers have left notes all over Wartman’s wall. The notes are filled with messages of inspiration and appreciation.
Now, Wartman is helping feed nearly 30 to 40 homeless people per day, and the goodwill is inspiring similar trends at other restaurants, including Starbucks and Panera Bread. It has also caught the attention of the national media, which brings more people in, which means more donations.
Wartman believes that people generally want to help, but often are left unsure about what they can do.
“This is a super easy way, a super efficient way, and a super transparent way to help the homeless,” he said. “They’re just really nice people, you know? Sometimes homeless people buy them for other homeless people.”
“Everybody wants the world to change, but in order for that to happen we have to change ourselves,” one appreciative customer noted.
Who would have thought it would only cost us a buck?
Make sure to pay this story forward and SHARE it with your friends. And the next time you’re in Philly, don’t forget to grab a slice at Rosa’s Fresh Pizza!