Friends Open Restaurant That Employs Incarcerated People | 22 Words

2 childhood friends in Philadelphia recently decided to open a restaurant that employs only formerly incarcerated individuals in an attempt to reduce the city's recidivism rates...

And so far, the business has been a huge success.


Scroll on to learn more about this unique venture and how it has been helping so many people who have been trying to turn their lives around...

Now, it's important to remember that everyone deserves a second chance...


Including those who have served time behind bars.

And although many individuals who have served time in prison are eager for a second chance at life...


They find that once they've been released, finding any form of work is near impossible.

Many companies and organizations want absolutely nothing to do with incarcerated men and women...


And going by America's recidivism rates, this kind of discrimination is bigger than ever.

Even though incarcerated individuals have made mistakes in their past...


That doesn't mean they don't deserve opportunities for their future... especially considering they've served time for their crimes.

And this is what brings us to today's heartwarming story.

Kurt Evans and Muhammed Abdul-Hadi have always had a passion for giving back to their community and after months of planning, they decided to combine their love of pizza and their passion to serve by opening up Down North Pizza in the heart of North Philadelphia last month.

After seeing how incarceration impacted their own families and how many of their loved ones couldn't find employment after leaving prison...

The childhood friends decided to employ only individuals who were formally incarcerated.

And of course, people have been left truly admired by the generous friends' act of kindness.


Known for its delicious Detroit-style pizzas, Down North Pizza provides culinary career opportunities at a fair wage for individuals previously involved in the justice system.

And each of its 8 employees have been taught various skills in the kitchen as a stepping stone back into society.

Speaking to Good Morning America, co-founder and head chef Kurt Evans spoke about their initiative.

"We just want to meet people where they're at and help them along the way, it was very important for us to help these people coming from the system and break the cycle of mass incarceration."

Employees who require short-term housing units are also offered 6 months of free rent at the upstairs apartment...

Ultimately allowing workers time to save funds for permanent living.

Michael Carter, who was the first hire at the eatery and had years of prior experience in the kitchen, said working at Down North is about more than just making pizzas.

"I fit the criteria because of my own story. I was locked up in 2015, about 2 weeks before my youngest daughter was born," Carter told GMA.

"I was happy to be a part of the mission and be able to push the line for social justice."

Evans and Abdul-Hadi said they hope to be an example for Black businesses and encourage other establishments to find ways to give back to their communities.

"If you want to get involved, you can start by partnering with local organizations that are like-minded," Evans said, "Usually the community is speaking to you about what it needs, you just have to listen."

Simply amazing!

For more inspiring stories, scroll on...