Facebook/Rosa's Fresh Pizza
Pay-it-forward pizza was born when a costumer came into Rosa’s Fresh Pizza asking to buy a $1 slice for a homeless person. The shop’s owner, Mason Wartman, honored the costumer’s altruism with a Post-it note.
He explains, “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.”
In the nine months since then, Wartman’s customers have “paid it forward” with 8,400 slices of pizza for the homeless community.
The many Post-its that decorate the walls of Rosa’s. Photo courtesy of Facebook/Rosa’s Fresh Pizza.
“The homeless, they come in and say, ‘I hear you give out free pizza to homeless pizza,” Wartman explains.
He says enough slices have been paid for that he doesn’t have to turn away any hungry members of the community, adding he gets about 30 to 40 homeless people every day.
Donations now come from near and far. Photo courtesy of Facebook/Rosa’s Fresh Pizza.
Though Wartman stopped keeping track of donations with Post-it notes after 500 slices — as it became too difficult to keep up — the Philly-based shop still has personal messages adorning the walls of his pizza parlor, many written from the people who receive the donated pizza.
One of these messages, written on a paper plate, reads, “Because of you, I ate off this plate. It is the only thing I ate all day. I am a homeless veteran and get treated rudely when I ask for help. Rosa’s treats me with respect. Truly a blessing, thank you.”
One of the messages written by a grateful recipient of the pizza. Phoot courtesy of Facebook/Rosa’s Fresh Pizza.
“They’re just really nice people, you know?” he tells NPR of his costumers. “Sometimes homeless people buy them for other homeless people. This is a super-easy way and a super-transparent way to help the homeless.”
And even a dollar can make a huge difference. As one of the notes written on the wall says, “I’ve been homeless in Philly for six years and I’m so happy to get to see people coming together and really making a [difference] in the community. Rosa’s is a great start to changing the way the homeless are treated. God bless you all who contributed to helping us.”
Another appreciative member of the homeless community, Gwanko, praises those who “paid-it-forward.” Photo courtesy of Facebook/Rosa’s Fresh Pizza.