PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) A pizza shop in Center City pays it forward and now the owner is going another step forward.
FOX 29 Photojournalist Bill Rohrer shows us how.
By now, most of you have heard the story. Rosa’s Fresh Pizza—a dollar a slice pizza shop helps to feed the homeless in Philadelphia.
Rosa’s model is simple. A person in need can have a slice of pizza off the wall paid for by a complete stranger. The word spread quickly on social media.
“We got all this national attention. I had no idea how powerful the Ellen DeGeneres show was and I was totally unprepared,” owner Mason Wartman told FOX 29.
Unprepared or not, millions of people from all over the world are helping the cause.
“Business doubled and tripled overnight," Wartman explained. "We have given away 60-70 thousand slices of pizza."
To keep up with the overwhelming demand, Mason needed to hire help and that is where Rosa’s story continues.
“This is like a new life here. Just like me. I was given new life when I found this job,” said employee Derrek Wallance.
For two years, Derrek lived on the streets.
"It was horrible. It was horrible. But I knew that not having a job was one of the toughest parts," he said. "When I first came here I was homeless, jobless, but not hopeless. I was actually trying to make things happen for myself because I knew nobody was going to do it for me."
Derrek is now able to afford a place to live and provide for his 3-year-old son.
"That is probably the most rewarding parts. It is great to give everyone a slice or two of pizza every now and then see people come in and work here and help me build Rosa’s up," Wartman said. And be able to afford nicer things in their lives because they get to work here."