Community pays it forward with pizza for the homeless

To a King County community, pizza is proving to be more than just a meal, it's proving to be a sign of acceptance.

Streetzeria in Richmond Beach opened in March of 2014, and since then the community has accepted them, and the restaurant has thrived.

After seeing how accepting the community was, when a homeless encampment called "United We Stand" moved in down the street from Streetzeria, owner Greg Bye decided to pay it forward by raising money to pay for pizza dinners for the encampment.

"It makes us feel like we can contribute and give back to the community since the community has given us the opportunity to supply our livelihood and live here." Bye said.

Customers at Streetzeria are invited to donate to the fund in $5 increments, and customers who donate are asked to include a note that is passed on to the homeless encampment.

Prior to the delivery, the post-it notes with messages written on them are posted on the wall of the restaurant for all to see. While many simply say "PIF" for "Pay it Forward", others leave messages welcoming the encampment into the community.

The idea came from Rosa's Fresh Pizza in Philadelphia, where people could donate $1 to pay for a slice of pizza for someone who needed it, and it was all done by leaving a post-it note on the wall.

"It really shows that people care." Marcus Falk, a member of the homeless encampment in Richmond Beach, said.

Falk ran into hard times and found himself homeless, and he said it's been a rough road. "When you're homeless, sometimes you feel homeless, and sometimes you feel like society knows that you're homeless."

While Falk said many people are judgmental, he said the community in Richmond Beach has shown how accepting they are both through donations to Streetzeria, and just being polite.

"I've never felt like someone looking at me says, 'Oh, there's one of the guys from the homeless camp'." Falk explained. "I'm a person."

So far Streetzeria has raised more than $800 through their pay it forward campaign, and members of the encampment said the gesture means more than you could imagine.

"Helping each other is what's important." Falk said. "When you do that, it may not be obvious and you may not even realize it, but for the rest of that other person's day – everybody can make a difference."

Each time Streetzeria gathers $450, they cook up 25 pizzas and bring them, along with salad and dessert, to the group, and Bye said they'll continue their campaign as long as people continue to donate.

Streetzeria is located at 1857 NW 195th Street. To learn more about the restaurant, you can visit their website.


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