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West Toledo pizzeria starts 'pay-it-forward' program to help feed the homeless

Big Slice Pizzeria lets customers donate $1 to post a sticky note on the wall. Then, folks in need are welcome to take a note and use it to redeem a free slice.
Credit: Cristin Reno

TOLEDO, Ohio — A new pizza shop has moved into west Toledo and already it's making its mark on the community.

Big Slice Pizzeria opened up on Halloween night and from the beginning, owners Cristin Reno, 22, and Mo Jomaa, 24, have offered patrons a chance to "pay it forward by the slice."

"We just thought it was a nice thing to do," Reno said.

The massive slices of pie generally cost $3. However, customers can come in and donate just $1 to post a sticky note on the wall, which folks in need can then use to redeem a free piece of pizza. The other $2 per slice is on the house.

This is AWESOME to see. Big slice pizzeria on Alexis rd. across from applebees has this on there wall. You donate $1, leave a note on a post-it and someone that is homeless can come in, grab a...

Reno and Jomaa said they offer every customer the chance to pay-it-forward and many have been eager to jump on board. And, word must be spreading quickly because Reno said on Monday, one customer came in and immediately requested to make a donation toward the cause. 

She said that the collection is small, as post-its have been going quickly. But, the goal is to have the entire wall filled.

"We want to take polaroids of everyone who pays it forward to add onto the wall and let everyone who could use a free slice know that they are welcome here," Reno said. "People always write kind messages on the post-it note which makes it even more awesome for the customers who need some kindness in their lives."

The store has only been in business for about two weeks, but Jomaa is no stranger to the pizza business. His father owns Jomaa Brothers Pizza in Toledo's north end. But, what sets this pizzeria apart from Jomaa Brothers, and most other pizza shops in Toledo, is the fact they serve large, thin crust New York-style pies. 

The restaurant has popped up at a good time, as temperatures have begun to drop and undoubtedly, more people are searching for a way to fill their bellies. The pizzeria has made it easy for those with a spare dollar in their pocket to help give back in an immediate and tangible way.

Come get one of our MONSTER CALZONES. BUILD YOUR OWN! ONLY $8! UNLI... MITED TOPPINGS tonight only! Make it as BIG as you can Toppings: Fresh portebello mushrooms (This morning), Fresh bell peppers (This morning), Banana Peppers, Jalapeno, Extra Cheese, Vegan Cheese, Pepperoni, Bacon, Black olives, Onion. 419-408-4046

Big Slice Pizzeria is located at 236 New Towne Square Dr. in west Toledo. They are open Monday - Saturday from 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m.

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