Scott Wiener is best known as the founder of Scott’s Pizza Tours, a company devoted to showing people the best pizzerias in New York City while also giving them a vivid history lesson. However Scott also runs a charitable organization called Slice Out Hunger, a 501(c)3 that helps throw pizza parties and events where the money is donated to hunger relief organizations. Slice Out Hunger has been going for eight years and has raised 110,000 dollars while throwing one large event a year. We spoke with Scott about the origins of the organization, how it’s grown over time and what’s next on the slate for Slice Out Hunger.
How did Slice Out Hunger get started?
Well I had been running the tour company for one year and I was going to throw a little party to thank people for supporting us in the first year, and all the pizzerias I work with offered me free pizzas.
I figured why give away all this free pizza to my friends when I can charge them a buck and give all the money to charity. So I did that and matched every dollar we raised and gave it to a hunger relief organization called City Harvest. That was 2008, and now it has grown to the point that we have lots of sponsors and it is a really big event.
How many events have you done so far?
We did one a year for seven years but this year we have done three and we have another coming up in October.
Why do you believe hunger relief is important to work on?
My business really treats food like an activity. But it’s not, it is a human right and a human necessity. I figured why not do something cool to give back and offset what I do with something that is great for the community.
Where is the organization now compared to its inception?
What we have now is a full-fledged 501(c)3 where we partner with places like college campuses and pizzerias around the country and help them throw parties where the money goes to charity. We call up pizzerias and ask if they would want to donate pizzas and they all love the idea. We have additional sponsors as well who either donate beverages, supplies, and raffle items or they match the donations.
Who are some of the sponsors you work with?
In past years we have had companies like Seamless, Grubhub, Uber, Yelp and Brewla. We also work with pizza box companies and lots of others.
How about the charities? Which ones have you given to and how does that process go?
The rule of the game is that we want to donate the money to a charity local to wherever the event took place. So our first out-of-state event should be in San Francisco this fall and the money raised will stay in San Francisco. The group picks the charity and we vet it via the Better Business Bureau and Charity Navigator.
What is the ultimate goal for Slice Out Hunger?
The dream is to be bigger than me and any one individual. We want to do fifty events a year if we can and be a big enough organization that they fire me because they can find someone to do it better!
Thanks Scott! Organizations interested in sponsoring events by Slice Out Hunger or groups interested in hosting an event can get more information at: http://sliceouthunger.org/contact/