Soul Kitchen

Why You Should Pay it Forward

Do you and your friends ever rack your brain for a fun day trip to take together but come up blank? Rest assured, your prayers have been answered. There are several destinations that are only an hour or less away from Monmouth that will not only allow you to have some fun, but also give back to a community in need. Starting in the City of Brotherly Love, good ole Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Only about two years ago, a man named Mason Waltman opened a pizzeria in the heart of a city to aid the homeless called Rosa’s. Restaurants usually decorate their establishments with photos, paintings and regular décor, but not Rosa’s. Waltman, the owner, has created the “pay-it-forward pizza.” Pizza at Rosa’s is only $1.00 but if you pay $5.00 he will give you a slice of pizza and four post-it notes. You can then take those four post-it notes and hang them anywhere on the wall with a little note of your choosing. The homeless and needy of Philadelphia can come into Rosa’s, take a post-it off the wall and use that as currency for a slice of pizza. This pay-it-forward concept and generosity is not just limited to Rosa’s. Major chains such as Panera have created four locations around the nation known as Panera Cares that do not have prices on their menu. They provide a suggested donation amount and that is what keeps the café running as well as pay for the persons that enter that cannot pay the donation “price.”

 If an hour and a half drive is too far for you, how about a 15-minute car ride? Jon Bon Jovi Kitchen is located in the city of Red Bank. If you are hungry for food for hungry for charity work, this is the place for you. This is a kitchen where you can purchase Pay It Forward cards to feed people in need. If you are having difficulty paying the minimum $10.00 per meal, you can also volunteer your time at this kitchen.

By nature, humans have an intrinsic need to help others. Jennifer Shamrock, professor of communication said, “Paying it forward provides us with a sense of community and responsibility for one another.” Most of the time we do not know how or what to do to help others. Everyone is fighting their own unique war. You never know what people are going through. So why not spend a Saturday giving back? Deanna Getty, senior at the University, said “volunteering has shown her what life is truly about whether it was at an assisted living or going on a service trip to Guatemala last year.”

Next time you are going through the drive thru at McDonalds, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, why not offering to pay for the car behind you. On Christmas Eve, a McDonald’s had a pay-it-forward chain that lasted through 250 vehicles for about six hours. The employee was keeping a tally of the cars on a piece of paper. Each customer would just pay for the meal behind them and say “Merry Christmas.” Another example occurred a few years at a Starbucks where approx. 1,468 customers at the drive-thru took part in a Christmas Eve pay-it- forward chain.

Sophomore psychology student, Nicole Gallagher, says, “Doing small things can help people in a big way.” As college students it is our duty to better the world and volunteering will aid us in doing so. My father always said there were two kinds of people in the world: givers and takers. The takers may eat better but the givers sleep better.