In 2013 Mason Wartman left his high flying job on Wall Street to open a hole in the wall restaurant, bringing the popular New York $1 pizza slice idea to Philadelphia. He named it Rosa’s Fresh Pizza and nowadays they dish up a whole load of hope and generosity to the city on the side.

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One day a customer walked in and enquired whether they could pre-pay for a slice of pizza, to be given to the next person who asked for help. He claimed he has been inspired by a practice in Italy called ‘cafe suspero‘ or ‘suspended coffee’, where customers can donate a caffeine hit to those without enough cash.Philadelphia pizza $1 homeless

Wartman drew a smiley face on a post-it to make a simple voucher, which he stuck on the wall to be redeemed at a later date. It might seem trivial to bother over $1, but in Philadelphia there are plenty of people for whom this would make a difference.Philadelphia pizza $1 homeless

The city is the poorest large metropolis in the country, with 400,000 of the 1.6 million inhabitants living below the poverty line. Despite doing a lot to tackle homelessness, in 2014 there was only enough shelter for half of those that were sleeping rough, many of whom are children.Philadelphia pizza $1 homeless

Back at Rosa’s Pizza, word was spreading about the pay it forward idea, that anyone who was strapped for cash could come in and hopefully get a free slice. Plenty of those with a dollar to spare did their good deed for the day and since 2014 they have served up over 10,000 slices of cheesy goodness to those in need.Philadelphia pizza $1 homeless

Pre-purchased slices now make up nearly 10% of Rosa’s business and the wall is covered with colourful post-it-notes, some as vouchers and some as expressions of gratitude. Some homeless customers have come back in after a time away, only to announce they now have a job and want to pay it forward themselves.

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If one small pizza place can create such a positive cycle of kindness, imagine if whole communities and businesses did the same.Philadelphia pizza $1 homeless Philadelphia pizza $1 homeless Philadelphia pizza $1 homeless Philadelphia pizza $1 homeless

Website: rosasfreshpizza.com
Address: 25 S 11th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

via Design You Trust