Knoxville pizzeria paying it forward to help community

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A Knoxville pizzeria has helped hundreds of people over the holidays with their “Pay it Forward” program. The owners of Little Nicky’s New York Pizza started the program 10 years ago with their pizzeria in New Jersey. When they moved to Knoxville they continued the program. The owners say many people this season have been able to get free food, all thanks to the community.

Nicky Haddad is the owner of Little Nicky’s New York Pizza. It’s a place known for delicious pizza pies and personalized post-its on the wall. Nicky started the pay it forward program to make sure everyone could get a slice of pizza.

“When I was young we were poor, so our pizza was a piece of bread with some ketchup and American cheese on it so I don’t want anyone to have to eat that,” said Nicky Haddad.

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He started by posting notes on the wall so people in need knew they could have a slice soon. Customers started leaving messages and donating a few bucks. Employee David Schwenk says it’s all about helping others in the community.

“It’s a family and when someone in the family is hurt and needs help, you help someone in the family,” said Schwenk.

The notes on the wall show the donated amount. You pull the note, take it to the counter and get a free slice of pizza. It’s that easy.

“I’ve seen a couple, ‘Hey I’ve been there,’ ‘God’s looking over you,’ and ‘Everybody in their life goes through some tough times.’ It’s amazing,” said Schwenk.

Used notes go into a bag.vlcsnap-2015-12-31-19h32m21s38

“It’s clearly a great thing and it makes one happy to support a business like this,” said customer Greg Guyotte.

“A little bit here, a little bit there. Everybody is happy. That’s what it’s all about you know,” said Haddad.

If you’d like to support the program and have some New York style pizza Little Nicky’s is located at 8917 Oak Ridge Highway in Knoxville.

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