A pizzeria in New Jersey is attaching missing pet flyers to its pizza boxes to help reunite owners with their lost animals.
John Sanfratello, owner of Angelo’s Pizza in Matawan, told INSIDER that he first had the idea for the pizza box campaign when he saw a Facebook post about a local cat that had gone missing.
“I saw the post and thought, ‘I really want to help this lady,’ because our cat had gone missing a while back,” Sanfratello told INSIDER. “Ours eventually came back, thank god, but I know what kind of anxiety that can cause – pets are family members.”
Sanfratello said he was in his restaurant trying to think of what he could do to help when inspiration suddenly struck.
“I turn around and I see this stack of pizza boxes and I thought ‘Hey, here’s the avenue to do this,’” he said.
Sanfratello then reached out to the woman on Facebook to let her know that if she brought flyers for her missing cat, the restaurant would happily tape them to its pizza boxes.
“She was very happy about it, and luckily, her cat was found before we even put the flyers on,” he said. “The whole thing inspired me to open up the campaign to everyone in Matawan and the adjoining towns. That’s when I put up a Facebook post and it started to really take off.”
The first flyer Angelo’s received was for a seeing eye dog, which Sanfratello said hit particularly close to home as his restaurant had created and coached the first baseball team for the blind in New Jersey.
“We coached that team for a few years, so we understand the need for that dog and how seeing eye dogs serve the blind community,” Sanfratello said. “We’ve done other campaigns for the community – which had great local responses – but nothing like this.”
Angelo’s initiative is already inspiring other food shops and businesses to do the same thing in their communities.
Sanfratello’s sister, Rosalia Di Fede, has already implemented the same campaign at her restaurant La Forchetta, in Stuart, Florida.
And Little Cupcake Bakeshop, which has three locations in New York City and is owned by one of Sanfratello’s cousins, also plans on attaching missing pet flyers to its packaging.
Angelo’s is also working with other members of the food industry to help spread the campaign.
“Through one of our produce suppliers, we found a little Italian market in South Jersey, near Philadelphia, to post flyers for lost pets in that area as well,” Sanfratello told INSIDER.
The pizzeria owner said the response to his campaign has been widespread and positive.
“I had a person from Australia reach out to thank me the other day,” Sanfratello said. “I had to ask them what time it was over there to make sure – I couldn’t believe it! I knew we really took off when my son came downstairs one morning and said ‘Hey dad, you’re on Snapchat!’”
But Sanfratello said all of the recent attention isn’t getting in the way of the missing pets campaign. “My employees have been very receptive and are excited to be helping in every way,” he added.
And Angelo’s has no plans to stop the campaign anytime soon.
“We want the campaign to continue. We want businesses to realize that it’s good to pay it forward and to give back,” Sanfratello explained.
“We’ve been here for 45 years, and this community is what’s kept us in business. We’re a family, and we’re always going to try to support our community.”
This content was originally published here.