Contemporary American life is filled with stuff to do, which makes it very difficult for many folks to carve out precious time in order to voluntarily help a worthy cause. Sometimes, it takes a little “incentive.”
In Robert Pape’s case, it was a pizza.
Specifically, a garlic pizza … from the first incarnation of Wonder Bar on Shrewsbury Street.
“I’m originally from Albany (New York) and I’m of Italian descent, so I’ve had my share of pizza,” said Pape. “But that garlic pizza was something else.”
Pape didn’t say whether he enjoyed the spicy pie, but the three men who shared the meal with him on that day in 1989 on the city’s East Side convinced him to volunteer in a new program that would allow children from financially strapped families to attend schools run by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester.
The students were to be given almost full scholarships or extremely discounted tuition rates.
That year, the fledgling endeavor allowed seven or eight kids to take classes in Catholic schools. Since its founding, the program has slowly grown.