Manitoba pizza pay it forward program helps to feed hungry immigrants. Each sticky note on the wall of SFC Pizzeria in Winnipeg, Manitoba, denotes a meal for someone in need.
Shivani Sanger and Vikas Sanger are immigrants from New Delhi, India. Shivani is a dental hygienist and Vikas is the owner of the restaurant where he comes by the idea for the “Pay It Forward Pizza Program.”
Vikas arrived in Winnipeg in 2010 as an foreign student at the University of Manitoba, where he studied business. He obtained his permanent residence in 2015 after getting a provincial nomination through the Skilled Worker in Manitoba Stream.
In 2016, Vikas purchased a gas station and grew the business to a laundromat, and eventually SFC Pizzeria.
Under the “Pay It Forward Pizza Program,” customers can voluntarily donate $1 towards a free slice of samosa or pizza for someone else. They are then handed a sticky note, where they write a few kind words before placing it on the wall. Individuals who do not have money can use one of these stickers to pay for their food.
Vikas told Canusim.com that the idea got to him just two days after opening the pizza business when a man came in asking for a slice of pizza, but didn’t have $1 to pay him.
He allowed the man have the pizza for free.
“I opened the restaurant two days ago,” he said. “I cannot afford to give a slice to everyone, but I can’t turn them away, as per my culture— in my culture you do not deny food or water to anyone.”
After speaking to Shivani about what happened they came up with the idea of “buy a slice, give a slice” policy. Then, in June 2019, they started the “Pay It Forward Pizza Program.”
At first, they placed a sign on the wall where the sticky notes would read “Kindness Matters” in big letters on the top and “Pay It Forward” on the bottom. They would also promote the initiative whenever a customer comes in to order, asking if they would show some kindness by making a donation.
Their wall became decorated with colourful sticky notes carrying messages, or as Vikas calls them, “blessings,” such as “Enjoy the pizza;” and “Hope you have a beautiful day.”
Though Vikas said the number of donations has reduced in the past few weeks, they are still feeding around twenty (20) to twenty (25) people per day.
“It exciting, you know, when you see people… giving their blessings,” he said.
Vikas reiterates he will continue the buy-one-give-one program for as long as he is running a business.
“I just want to completely taken away hunger around the city — around Canada,” he said, “Anyone who can afford to do it, they should try to do it.”
Thus, Manitoba pizza pay it forward program have helped to slow down hunger around city.