Bridging the Opportunity Divide

This Man Walked Away from Wall Street. Now’s His Pizza Parlor Is Feeding Philadelphia’s Homeless

July 2, 2015
by
This Man Walked Away from Wall Street. Now’s His Pizza Parlor Is Feeding Philadelphia’s Homeless
Mason Wartman's Post-it Note system helps feed those on the streets. Jesse Roesler, Bolster
His ingenious act has given more than 14,000 hungry people a meal.

You can’t buy much for two dollars these days, but in Philadelphia, you can feed yourself and a homeless neighbor with just a couple of bucks.

After leaving a successful Wall St. career because he found it unfulfilling, owner Mason Wartman opened Rosa’s Fresh Pizza in late 2013. He had witnessed the popularity of the one-dollar pizza joints in New York City and decided that a the concept might work in his native Philadelphia.

“I knew that we would be feeding homeless people because we’d be providing affordable food,” says Wartman. “About three months into operation, a paying customer asked if he could pre-purchase a slice for a homeless person. And so I ran out, got a stack of Post-it Notes to remind myself and the employees that we could help someone out when they came in short.”

Before long, the walls of Rosa’s became covered in Post-it Notes. Each one signifies someone who has given a dollar so that that a homeless or hungry person can enjoy a meal at no-cost. The messages on some are simple; others have drawings or a friendly letter.

Each day, a few dozen homeless people file into Rosa’s to enjoy the kindness of their neighbors. In the last year, Wartman reports that this system has provided more than 14,000 free slices for Philadelphians in need.

“This is way more rewarding than what I used to do on Wall Street,” says Wartman. “I learn a ton everyday, I meet really cool people — homeless and not homeless. I get to see a positive difference being made in a city that I really love. So, what more could I ask for, right?”

Comments