Imagine a world where people help each other when they are in pain or despair. Imagine a world where people join together to create warmth, hope, inspiration, and joy. Imagine a world where hunger and homelessness are non-existant.
Sounds silly? Maybe it does. But it’s usually the silliest ideas that sparks an opportunity for change. In this case, it’s called A Slice of Hope.
It all started in 2007 when one man came up with the idea to throw a pizza party at a homeless shelter in New York City. A silly idea, he was told by a few, today this idea has grown into a yearly nationwide event where pizza parties take place with live music at homeless shelters, service centers and temporary housings in over 25 states!
It all began in 1 state back in 2007, grew to 4 states in 2008, then to 25 states in 2009. You can imagine how much of a difference this silly act of kindness has made in many people’s lives.
In 2015, PMQ Pizza Magazine teamed up with A Slice of Hope to help bring awareness to this cause by assisting with fundraisers to sponsor and donate pizzas. This fun and exciting charity event gives shelter guests – even volunteers – something to look forward to every year. Helping others just feeds the soul!
So who is this man behind this crazy idea? It’s Obaid Kadwani, a Bollywood actor, business director for a nonprofit called eyeBlink, philanthropist, and friend who inspired even myself to be the change.
The purpose of this effort? To eat pizza of course. But to also share smiles, hope and joy with the intention of eradicating hunger someday.
With the help of many donors and volunteers in 2009, we hosted our very first pizza party at the Orlando Union Rescue Mission in Orlando, Florida (check out video of our first party here). Little did we know meeting so many families and children would have such an impact on us. The gratitude shelter guests expressed just for receiving hot pizza, which they rarely get by the way, made us realize how much we ourselves take for granted.
In 2010, we had to do it again. This time we hosted an additional party at the Christian Service Center West Orange in Ocoee, Florida. The experience was amazing and brought tears to many when a guest at the service center sang a song expressing his gratitude (see video here).
It gets better every year. In 2011, The Real Sheba, singer and artist of the popular reggae song “Love this Lifetime” made her way to Orlando to sing live for our shelter guests at two locations (see videos and photos here). It was a phenomenal and memorable experience!
The opportunity to raise optimism and joy continues every year right here in Central Florida as our number of donors and volunteers increase with more support!
In 2015, we learned about an organization that took our breath away. A pastor by the name of Skip feeds the homeless “on the street” via his organization, Word on the Street Homeless Ministries. Pastor Skip and his volunteers prepares a number of dishes every Sunday and brings it to a tent which they set up outside on East Orlando Drive to feed the homeless. Talk about being the change!
The most wonderful thing about A Slice of Hope is that it brings many people together with a desire to achieve one common goal – to help one another. It provides an opportunity for us to connect with one another, to remind each other that there is always a way to help those in need.
A Slice of Hope brings friends, family, volunteers, coworkers, shelter guests, photographers, DJs, sponsors and so many people together to help those in need while being the change we wish to see in our world.
This, my friends, is truly a gift. This, my friends, is the gift of Love.