Two Schreiber High School sophomores Kate and Alec Goodman have found a way to give back to those in need of a meal with their initiative Port Pays It Forward (PPIF).
The siblings came up with this idea in December 2020 during their holiday recess when they had extra time at home. They began researching for ways they could give back to the community and came across an article about the concept of Sospeso in Italy. The name Sospeso comes from Caffè Sospeso, which means “suspended coffee,” and is the Neapolitan practice of anonymously paying for a coffee ahead for someone else in need.
“We were intrigued and as we dug deeper we read about other cafes and restaurants here in the United States that have successfully applied this very concept to make a difference for businesses and community members. We decided to bring this idea to Port Washington,” the siblings said.
The Goodman’s decided to consult their favorite pizzeria Carlo’s Pizza in Port Washington to see if they could help apply this initiative to the Port community.
“We are longtime Carlo’s Pizza lovers and since Carlo’s was the very first restaurant we ordered takeout from after months of home-cooked meals in quarantine at the onset of COVID-19, we thought it was fitting to start the program with them with the hopes to expand to other local establishments,” the siblings said. “With family back home in Italy, Carlo’s ownership was familiar with the Sospeso concept and agreed to host their very own Sospeso with pizza slices.”
The Pay It Forward initiative allows customers the option of donating $3 to buy a slice of pizza for the next person in need. Those who wish to donate will fill out a message of kindness on a Post-It Note and stick to the wall inside the restaurant for redemption.
“It not only gives pizza to people in need but it promotes kindness within the community,” Kate said.
Residents who are in need of a free meal can go inside, grab a Post-It note off of the wall and redeem a slice of pizza free of charge.
So far the initiative has been quite successful. The Port Pays It Forward Team donated the first $500 worth of slices as well as program supplies, signage, social media, PR and marketing management. With the help of the community, the PPIF team has been able to donate more than $3,000 and 1,000 slices of pizza.
“Our goal is to bring the community together one business and one customer at a time, to ensure community members have a bite to eat if in need, but to also support local businesses,” Alec said. “We’ve worked closely to get the program off the ground with the owners of Carlo’s Pizza, Daniel Centatiempo and Roberto Pallagrosi, who have really embraced the program. Danny even got Port Pays It Forward/Carlo’s t-shirts designed that he’s been giving out to customers who participate in the program.”
On Jan. 31 and Feb. 6, the PPIF team delivered pizza pies to feed residents of Community Mainstreaming, an organization which provides certified residences and support for people with developmental disabilities. They are also in the midst of working with the Port Washington Parent Resource Center to do the same for them and all of their 45 outreach families.
“We want everyone to join in and give if you can, take if you need,” Kate said. “We live in a special place here in Port, where people truly want to help. It’s been a hard year for everyone, and we have learned that little things make a big difference in people’s lives, whether it’s food or support. Port Pays It Forward makes it possible to help others with a ripple effect of kindness. We want to spread the word to everyone to go to Carlo’s if you’re in need to redeem the hundreds of donated slices. We just want to bring support and happiness to Port families.”
The siblings are hoping to expand their initiative to other local restaurants and coffee shops in the area.
Carlo’s Pizza is located at 109 Main St. in Port Washington. To participate in the Port Pays It Forward initiative, customers can donate in-person at Carlo’s Pizza or through Venmo @Portpaysitforward. Contact the PPIF co-founders at firstname.lastname@example.org. To follow the initiative on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook @portpaysitforward.