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Another way to use a wall: Showing kindness to strangers

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Zoe Romanowsky - published on 03/12/17

Two shops find creative ways to help customers "pay it forward'

We hear a lot about controversial walls these days, but there are some special, hidden-away walls in our midst that surely everyone can agree are a boon to humanity.

In New York City’s East Village, there’s a vegan sweets shop  called Confectionary! that started a “Mitzvah Wall.” (In Yiddish, mitzvah means “good deed.”) Customers come into the shop and choose a treat to purchase for someone who meets a certain criteria — usually a particular struggle, need, or situation they may be going through. Then the customer writes this on a card, along with the corresponding treat they’ve purchased, and tacks it on the Mitzvah Wall. When a customer comes in and sees the mitzvah on the wall, he or she can claim the card and the corresponding treat.

The idea, says an article in Tablet Magazine, is to “pay it forward” and it’s meant as a way to show kindness to strangers.

The Mitzvah Wall has cards that say things like: “A cookie for someone who feels the season passed them by” and “A macaroon for someone living with depression.”

The idea of a wall that helps people pay kindness forward to  strangers has also made a small pizza shop in downtown Philadelphia stand out. At Rosa’s Fresh Pizza, customers can pre-order a piece of pizza for a homeless person for $1 and then leave a sticky note on the wall about it.

The idea was the brainchild of Rosa’s owner, Mason Wartman, who opened the shop after working a desk job on Wall Street. He remembers a man walking in one day and offering to pre-purchase a slice of pizza for the next homeless person who entered the shop. Wartman bought some sticky notes and posted one behind the register so he wouldn’t forget and eventually, a homeless person walked in the door. The rest is history: Many customers buy pizza slices for the homeless, and leave sticky notes on the wall — to date over 10,000 pieces of pizza have been given to homeless individuals.

“I feel welcomed,” said one homeless man about Rosa’s, which, apparently happens to also make tasty pizza.

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