Paul D. Schreiber High School students Peri Cooper, left, and...

Paul D. Schreiber High School students Peri Cooper, left, and Brooke Pastolove at Carlo's Pizza in Port Washington, where they are running a program to help tackle food insecurity locally. Credit: Howard Schnapp

In Port Washington, the idea of “paying it forward” starts with a kind message and a slice of pizza.

Paul D. Schreiber High School freshmen Brooke Pastolove and Peri Cooper recently took over a program that aims to tackle food insecurity in the community with the help of a local pizzeria.

Local twins Alec and Kate Goodman started the program in December 2020 by introducing the concept that customers of Carlo's Pizza in Port Washington could pay $3 so another person could receive a free slice or donate the $3 or more money to an account that pays for meals.

After someone pays ahead, that person can write a message on a Post-it note, stick it on the “wall for redemption”  and another person can redeem the note for a slice.

“Once we saw our idea translate to help so many we made a pledge to ourselves and to the owners of Carlo’s Pizza, Daniel Cenatiempo and Roberto Pallagrosi, to make Port Pays It Forward part of the community forever,” the twins said in a statement. “It’s rewarding to mentor other young adults to uphold our mission back home and ensure the program is a fabric of our community.”

The twins, now 18 and students at the University of Michigan, started the Port Pays It Forward program with $500 from their savings.

“Since they went away to college, we thought it would be a great opportunity to take it over and keep expanding,” 14-year-old Brooke said of the Goodman twins.

“A slice is all it takes to make a difference,” said 15-year-old Peri.

The program has helped feed residents through partnerships with entities including the Port Washington Parent Resource Center and Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church.

Nicole Asselta, executive director of the Parent Resource Center, said the program has helped provide meals for participants of the center, whose mission is to make early education programs available at affordable prices.

“I think it makes a big difference," Asselta said. “Events we take for granted are really appreciated in families that face financial hardship.”

The organizers of Port Pays It Forward estimated the program has helped provide more than 4,000 meals in all.

“There is a need here that some people maybe don’t realize,” Peri's mother, Erika Cooper, said of the Port Washington community. “It’s more important now with food prices being at an all-time high.”

Kim Pastolove, Brooke’s mother, said the program works well because the owners of Carlo’s have been a staple of the community for a long time.

Cenatiempo, one of the pizzeria's co-owners, noted that the twins drew inspiration from the Neapolitan tradition of “caffè sospeso,” or suspended coffee — the practice in Italy of anonymously paying for a coffee ahead for someone in need.

“I just thought it was a cool idea and a nice thing for the community,” said Cenatiempo, whose family comes from Naples.

Randi Goodman said her children's vision was to “make this a part of the community forever” and now the new organizers have their own chance to make “this world an easier and better place.”

Brooke and Peri said they are working on a plan to expand the program to Carlo's Pizza in Glen Head.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story had a photo caption that reversed the identities of Peri Cooper and Brooke Pastolove.

In Port Washington, the idea of “paying it forward” starts with a kind message and a slice of pizza.

Paul D. Schreiber High School freshmen Brooke Pastolove and Peri Cooper recently took over a program that aims to tackle food insecurity in the community with the help of a local pizzeria.

Local twins Alec and Kate Goodman started the program in December 2020 by introducing the concept that customers of Carlo's Pizza in Port Washington could pay $3 so another person could receive a free slice or donate the $3 or more money to an account that pays for meals.

After someone pays ahead, that person can write a message on a Post-it note, stick it on the “wall for redemption”  and another person can redeem the note for a slice.

“Once we saw our idea translate to help so many we made a pledge to ourselves and to the owners of Carlo’s Pizza, Daniel Cenatiempo and Roberto Pallagrosi, to make Port Pays It Forward part of the community forever,” the twins said in a statement. “It’s rewarding to mentor other young adults to uphold our mission back home and ensure the program is a fabric of our community.”

The twins, now 18 and students at the University of Michigan, started the Port Pays It Forward program with $500 from their savings.

“Since they went away to college, we thought it would be a great opportunity to take it over and keep expanding,” 14-year-old Brooke said of the Goodman twins.

“A slice is all it takes to make a difference,” said 15-year-old Peri.

The program has helped feed residents through partnerships with entities including the Port Washington Parent Resource Center and Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church.

Nicole Asselta, executive director of the Parent Resource Center, said the program has helped provide meals for participants of the center, whose mission is to make early education programs available at affordable prices.

“I think it makes a big difference," Asselta said. “Events we take for granted are really appreciated in families that face financial hardship.”

The organizers of Port Pays It Forward estimated the program has helped provide more than 4,000 meals in all.

“There is a need here that some people maybe don’t realize,” Peri's mother, Erika Cooper, said of the Port Washington community. “It’s more important now with food prices being at an all-time high.”

Kim Pastolove, Brooke’s mother, said the program works well because the owners of Carlo’s have been a staple of the community for a long time.

Cenatiempo, one of the pizzeria's co-owners, noted that the twins drew inspiration from the Neapolitan tradition of “caffè sospeso,” or suspended coffee — the practice in Italy of anonymously paying for a coffee ahead for someone in need.

“I just thought it was a cool idea and a nice thing for the community,” said Cenatiempo, whose family comes from Naples.

Randi Goodman said her children's vision was to “make this a part of the community forever” and now the new organizers have their own chance to make “this world an easier and better place.”

Brooke and Peri said they are working on a plan to expand the program to Carlo's Pizza in Glen Head.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story had a photo caption that reversed the identities of Peri Cooper and Brooke Pastolove.

Paying it forward

  • A Port Washington program aims to tackle food insecurity in the area with donations of pizza slices.
  • High school students Brooke Pastolove and Peri Cooper have taken over the program, which started in 2020.
  • Organizers estimated they helped provide more than 4,000 meals, including at Carlo’s Pizza in Port Washington.
Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV Credit: Newsday

Updated 21 minutes ago Summer tourism ... Shark sightings on LI . . . Dino-Mite Vintage . . . What's Up on Long Island . . . Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV

Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV Credit: Newsday

Updated 21 minutes ago Summer tourism ... Shark sightings on LI . . . Dino-Mite Vintage . . . What's Up on Long Island . . . Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV

ONE-DAY SALE26¢ for 5 6 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME