We harness Utah’s entrepreneurial spirit in service to the common good through smart philanthropy.
A slice of pizza is only a dollar at the small Philadelphia pizza shop Rosa's Fresh Pizza. One day, a man bought himself a slice then turned to the cashier and asked, "Can I buy one for someone else? Maybe someone who is homeless - kind of a pay-it-forward thing?"
The cashier, who happened to be the shop's owner, Mason Wartman, loved the idea. The man gave him the money, and Wartman put a Post-it note on the wall behind the register. That Post-it note represented one paid-for slice of pizza.
Little did he know that something huge was about to happen.
The next day, a homeless man came in with only 68 cents to buy some food. Wartman pulled off the Post-it note, handed it to the man and said, "It's OK - your meal has been paid for."
Word spread, and soon everyone in town knew about the little pizza shop with the big commitment to helping others. After a while, brightly colored sticky notes covered the walls of the restaurant. You could literally see the love and service that was given, by total strangers, to those in need.
If you don't have money for food, you can take a Post-it note from the wall to pay for your pizza. This Post-it was bought by someone else who wanted to pay it forward.
One woman often donated $5 to the pizza shop, and one day, while she was out looking for something to eat, she realized she left her wallet at home. As she began to feel disheartened, she remembered Rosa's Fresh Pizza. She was able to pick off a Post-it note and get a slice of pizza.
The pizza shop serves about 100 homeless people a day, and people keep on buying slices for others.
One woman who paid it forward said in the video, "To see such compassion and brotherly love ... it's inspiring!"
According to Upworthy, the pizzeria has given away more than 20,000 slices of pizza since June. Because his business has done so well, Wartman needs more employees, so he hires them through a group that connects homeless people with jobs.
This small business has turned into a huge opportunity to help others. Even something as small as a slice of pizza can change someone's day and put a smile on his face.
At the end of the video, Wartman sums up his little shop by saying, "I think it's pretty cool how powerful something this small and simple can be."
Customers who donate may never meet the people who pick their sticky notes off the wall, but they can leave the pizza shop knowing they helped put a meal in front of a stranger and a smile on someone's face.
Those who donated to Rosa's Fresh Pizza didn't even know the people who they were helping. Sometimes showing love to others may be anonymous, but it will still leave us with that warm feeling in our hearts.
During the month of March, The Community Foundation of Utah is sponsoring the Love Utah, Give Utah event. Love Utah Give Utah brings together nonprofits, donors, volunteers and local businesses to raise millions of dollars to support our community. Every donation you make during Love UT Give UT will help qualify your favorite organization for challenge grants and prizes, and further the impact of your generous gift.
Begin building your own backyard, no matter how big or small. Visit The Community Foundation of Utah today and donate to Love Utah, Give Utah.
Jenna Koford is on the content team at FamilyShare. She graduated with a degree in Communications—Journalism and a minor in editing. Jenna enjoys painting and calligraphy, planning a wedding, and Pinterest and Netflix.