Slice Out Hunger has raised over $160,000 to fund hunger relief since its first event in 2009. The idea was simple: use food donated by independent pizzerias to raise money for a local hunger relief organization with a proven track record. Our first event featured fifty pizzas from six different pizzerias and raised about $500. Seven years later, we hosted New York's biggest pizza party featuring over 1,500 pizzas from fifty of the city's top pizzerias, raising $50,000 in just three hours. The annual event has become an institution in New York City and has inspired cities around the country to host similar fundraisers. The size of the party continues to grow, but the focus has always been to highlight independent pizzerias while supporting those in our community who have trouble affording food for themselves and their families.
The pizza industry is currently experiencing a massive growth phase, which is reflected in the media by way of frequent "Top Ten" lists and restaurant reviews bragging about imported ovens and rare tomatoes. Pizza is a $37 billion industry in the US. Let's face it, we're obsessed. Slice Out Hunger founder Scott Wiener tapped into pizza fever when he launched Scott's Pizza Tours in 2008. Over 40,000 tourists, locals, pizza lovers, and pizza professionals have since attended excursions to significant New York pizzerias with his company. Food tours are fun ways to experience a city, but treating food as entertainment is a luxury that too many people cannot afford. Slice Out Hunger became a way to harness the momentum of our collective pizza obsession to effectively support those who have trouble meeting their own basic food needs.
New York City isn't the only community that can benefit from our efforts, so we're expanding our scope across the country. We'll be helping communities run their own Slice Out Hunger events as well as implementing virtual pizza parties to help spread the pizza love and funds to support those who need it most.