Angelo’s Pizza in Matawan, New Jersey, has been serving their local community since 1974. The family-owned pizzeria has long been supported by locals, and now they are receiving a national spotlight — though for a slightly different reason than one might expect.
In early July, neighbor Lara May approached Angelo’s Pizza owner John Sanfratello with a stack of flyers, hoping to get some help finding her cat Hazel.
“She said her cat has been missing since November which was upsetting,” Sanfratello’s 15-year-old son Anthony told WABC. “But she said she feels that if we put this on our boxes, people in Matawan order here, we’re known locally, that maybe she can be reunited with her cat.”
Hazel ended up being found before the flyers could be distributed, but Sanfratello realized the impact that something like that could have on his community.
“I decided, you know what, it is a good idea,” he said. “Why don’t we offer it to the community at large and that’s what we did.”
On July 11, Angelo’s posted an offer on their Facebook page to help local owners of lost pets. “Anyone in the Matawan/Aberdeen area who has a missing pet can drop off flyers for us to place on all our pizza boxes,” the post said. “No charge.”
“I really don’t know why nobody has thought about it before, but it’s a great idea,” Angelo’s delivery driver Veronica Barber told WLNY.
WABC reported that within a matter of days they got two more requests, this time for missing dogs. One of these was a puppy named Ondrea that was training to be a seeing-eye dog.
More than 500 boxes have since been delivered with Ondrea’s face taped on top. Sanfratello told WLNY that this idea was similar to the way that missing persons were posted on milk cartons. “I thought why can’t we do the same?” he said.
“We want to reunite pets with their owners but we also want other business to take up the initiative and do the same,” Sanfratello said. Sanfratello’s sister is reportedly now doing the same at her pizzerias in Florida.
The community-mindedness of Angelo’s Pizza is definitely making a positive impact with those that know Sanfratello.
Joe Mason, a regular at Angelo’s and a K-9 trainer for Matawn, shared his thoughts about the flyers with WABC. “Obviously I have a service dog, I know how valuable they are in the community, whether it’s in police work or the civilian world,” he said. “I can’t imagine what it would be like losing him. He’s my best friend.”
Sanfratello says that he plans on continuing the flyers until all the missing pets in New Jersey are found.
“This initiative has been very very successful and has raised a lot of awareness for missing pets,” an Angelo’s Facebook post read.
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