A New Jersey pizzeria has come up with a novel way to reunite lost animals with their owners by converting the humble pizza box into a ready-made distress beacon. Angelo’s Pizza in Matawan have started a new campaign, plastering local missing pet information on the front of their delivery boxes, helping spread the word and ease the burden on distressed families around the area. It’s an idea that has had far reaching consequences for the entire community.
In an interview with Insider, Angelo’s owner, John Sanfretello, revealed that he was inspired to make the change after spotting a missing cat post on Facebook. As he explained, "I saw the post and thought, 'I really want to help this lady,' because our cat had gone missing a while back. Ours eventually came back, thank God, but I know what kind of anxiety that can cause - pets are family members. I turn around and I see this stack of pizza boxes and I thought 'Hey, here's the avenue to do this.'"
Feeling suitably inspired, Sanfratello took to social media himself to get the word out. In a post dated July 11th, he advised, “Anyone in the Matawan/Aberdeen area who has a missing pet can drop off flyers for us to place on all our pizza boxes. No charge.” The post has since been shared over 1500 times, causing the idea to go from strength to strength.
It wasn’t long after this initial post that Angelo’s got their first official assignment. Sanfratello and his team received word that a German Shepherd puppy named Ondrea had gone missing, a few weeks before she was about to begin training as a seeing-eye dog. The situation was especially poignant as Sanfratello himself had coached New Jersey’s first baseball team for the blind a few years prior to the incident. As he told Insider, "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. We've done other campaigns for the community — which had great local responses — but nothing like this." Before long, the flyer was being distributed throughout the community, all through the medium of pizza.
The restaurant’s new policy is certainly helping to raise its profile. In addition to interviews with Insider, Sanfratello has also made an appearance on Good Morning America, where he described how his extended family is helping to set up similar operations around the country. However, it’s also clear that the extra attention isn’t getting in the way of their good work. As Sanfratello explained to Insider, "My employees have been very receptive and are excited to be helping in every way. We want the campaign to continue. We want businesses to realize that it's good to pay it forward and to give back. 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." Since there are few things more familial than pizza and pets, it’s small wonder that the idea has proven to be such a success.