Rosa’s Fresh Pizza in Philadelphia, PA, is using Post-it® Notes to help people get a bite to eat and hopefully, get back on their feet. It works like this: customers can donate a dollar to buy a slice of pizza for the next person who needs one, and when they do, they can also write a message of support or encouragement on a Post-it® Note and stick it on the wall. Recently, Rosa’s has also started giving away sweatshirts to help people keep warm – and stitching lists of shelters and aid programs into the lining, in case they need an extra helping hand.
We talked with Mason Wartman, the founder and owner of Rosa’s, about how he got his unique idea to give back to the community, and how it’s made a difference in his business and his life.
A: One day, a customer, knowing that we served a lot of homeless people because we sell affordable food, came in and asked to buy a slice for the next homeless person who was short $1.00. I accepted his $1.00, ran out and got a stack of Post-it® Notes. I put one up behind the register to symbolize a pre-purchased slice. I intended to use the Post-it® Notes to account for the state of the program.
A: It was never my intention to start something like this. It was just something small and easy for us to do that I thought was pretty cool and fun. I never really understood how big it could get or how many people it would help. Now, we help so many people it would just be wrong to slow down or stop.
A: A man named Marty came in and told me that after a couple weeks of getting free pizza, he had saved enough money to afford a new change of nice clothes and a haircut. With that, he looked good in his job interview and got a job. That was the first time I realized that the program was more powerful than I thought.
A: All of our letters from homeless people are on our Facebook page.
We’re proud to play even a small role in a story that’s so inspiring, and to provide the Post-it® Notes that represent so much hope to so many people. We’ll be keeping an eye on Rosa’s Fresh Pizza to see just how far their inspiration spreads.