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For a fleeting moment leaving the chemotherapy treatment center, Josh Katrick forgot about the year he'd been having.

He'd just gotten an email telling him that — out of roughly 1,200 names — his was the one randomly selected from a raffle at Mario's Pizza in Northampton, Pennsylvania. A lot of free pizza was coming his way.

The family-owned local hot spot had held a promotion giving away two large pizzas and one two-liter beverage every month throughout 2017.  


"I remember coming out of [the chemo treatment center] thinking, 'I just won pizzas for a year!'" Katrick told WFMZ-TV 69 News of that moment in early December. "'That's cool!'"

Photo via Mario's Pizza, used with permission.

For Katrick, the news came amid quite a surreal few months.

The 36-year-old learned he has colon cancer in July. He had surgery in August and has since completed seven of 12 rounds of chemotherapy, NBC 10 News reported.

Photo via Mario's Pizza, used with permission.

"It’s been a fast time," he told the outlet. "It still feels like the blink of an eye."

Most people would argue a guy like Katrick is more than deserving of a few free slices considering what he's been through lately.

Katrick, however, had other plans in mind.

Katrick asked Mario's — his favorite pizza joint in town — if his free pizza could be given to the Northampton Area Food Bank instead.

"I've been getting so much from family, friends — people I don't even know well — the last few months," he explained to WFMZ, that he didn't think a year's worth of free pizza should be spent on him.

GIF via WFMZ.

At first, Frank Grigoli, a manager and co-owner's son at Mario's, didn't know what to make of the request.

Before he knew Katrick wanted the pizza to be given to the food bank, Grigoli was a bit befuddled. Mario's has been in business 37 years, after all, and quality is baked into every bite — why would someone pass on a delicious free lunch?

After learning it was about helping Northampton's most vulnerable people, however, Grigoli says Katrick's request brought "tears of joy." "This guy has a big heart," he said.

Still, something was bothering him. "That night, I went to sleep and something didn’t feel right," Grigoli admits. The next day, he decided, "we’re gonna give [Katrick] a gift.”

Photo via Mario's Pizza, used with permission.

Inspired by Katrick's selfless deed, Mario's decided to give both Katrick and the food bank a free year of pizza.

"It's better to give than receive," saidGiuseppe Aiello, whose father, Giovanni, co-owns the restaurant. "Especially during this time of year — Christmas — it's a great time to think about that and see examples of it around town."

The food bank can choose between having either the same deal Katrick won or throwing a pizza party with the entire year's worth of food and drinks — 24 large pizzas complemented with 12 two-liters — all at once, Grigoli tells Upworthy. So all in all, Mario's is giving away 48 pies to very deserving recipients next year.

Photo via Mario's Pizza, used with permission.

Free pizzas aside, things are looking good for Katrick in 2017.

Feeling better with the holidays here, and more than halfway through his chemo treatments, Katrick is expected to make a full recovery, according to NBC 10 News.

Regardless of his prognosis, though, Katrick is someone who always wants to see the glass as half-full.

“The old attitude of, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade," he said. "Life gave me pizza, so I made peace.”

Watch WFMZ-TV 69 News' report on Katrick's story below:

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

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