As the Toronto Raptors advanced to the Eastern Conference finals in epic fashion on May 15, Mathew Mikhaiel and his friends were paying close attention to the game that night. They obviously wanted their home team to beat the Miami Heat, but they had another reason to hope for a win.
During the regular season, whenever the Raptors score 100 points or more at home and win, fans with game tickets receive a free slice of pizza from Pizza Pizza the following day. The franchise turned it up a notch by offering free pizza whenever the team just manages to win (regardless of the score) at home during the playoffs–which they did on May 15.
You’re probably thinking “hey, it’s just a slice of pizza…big deal.” But the friends, who call themselves 100 for the Homies weren’t coveting the cheesy goodness for themselves. Instead, the youth homelessness awareness group, created by Mikhaiel earlier this year, aimed to collect said ticket stubs and use them to feed Toronto’s homeless.
“Me and my girlfriend Zoey were at a [regular season] game this year and it was the first game I had attended that we had won with more that 100 points…leaving us with vouchers for free pizza,” Mikhaiel said. “[We] were not planning to go out of our way for the free slice so I thought it would be a cool idea if there was a program in place to get these free pizza slices to those in need.”
Talking to fans outside of the arena once the Raptors-Miami game ended (116-89), Mikhaiel and volunteers for the Toronto-based initiative began collecting ticket stubs and, boy, did they deliver.
After canvassing, the group got to counting and realized they had gathered just over 2,260 stubs which, obviously, equalled 2,260 slices of pizza. Volunteer Corey Wadden, who was one of those collecting tickets on May 15, had only heard about #100fortheHomies a few hours before it began.
“I was hanging out with my friend and he mentioned he was volunteering for the initiative later that day and I really liked the idea,” he said. “I loved how easy it was to be a part of. It’s a grassroots initiative, through and through. It’s one of the things I love the most.”
This isn’t the first time the group has been able to contribute a little something to homeless shelters in their city. Since March, they’ve donated over 10,000 slices of pizza vouchers to 20 local homeless shelters, including Covenant House and the Good Shepherd. For Wadden, knowing that the impact the donations can have within a short timespan is what warms his heart.
“Within 24 hours, the stubs are donated and the homeless are fed. 1 ticket = 1 slice of pizza for someone who doesn’t have access to food. You can really visualize the impact you have.”
Here’s hoping the Raptors win a few more home games during the rest of the playoffs, so 100 for the Homeless and fans can keep this good deed going.