Grad Student Raises $30,000 for Charity for “Pizza Drops”

27-year-old grad student Ben Sherman thought of the perfect way to connect with friends at the start of the pandemic. He started baking pizzas and delivering them from his second-story apartment. Months later, his hobby quickly evolved into a booming nonprofit that has raised $30,000 for charity to help fight homelessness and food insecurity in Philadelphia.

SPizza herman shows great passion for cooking for others. He was inspired by his mother Carrie. He was raised in Portland, Maine, where he grew up learning new recipes from his mom and the importance of gathering around a table to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

When interviewed for a famous online food journal, Ben Sherman shared that his mother, who is an amazing cook, taught him about food as a love language and also a driving force to connect people. He also thinks that he feels great comfort only when he is with friends around a dinner table.

Sherman’s Love for Cooking Delicious Meals

Ben Sherman delivering pizzas with a pulley from his window as part of his charityDuring high school, Sherman worked in the kitchens of local restaurants. By 2012, he launched his own food truck called Mainely Burgers. Two years later, Sherman sold his company, which by then, included two food trucks serving burgers and sandwiches and one focused on homemade root beer floats and ice cream. Even though Ben never had any chef training, this whole experience taught him about food production on a larger scale.

Fast-forward a few years, Ben Sherman is an MBA student at the University of Pennsylvania. It appears that he returned to cooking, but now he is making pizza for hundreds of homeless people and strangers. He also gives all the proceeds to a charity of his choice.

Raising Money For Charity

In March 2020, when the pandemic started, Sherman was planning a dinner party with his friends. He decided to cancel after hearing the news about the shutdown, but he didn’t let this stop him from delivering delicious meals to his pals. He ordered 40 feet of thick string and rigged a pulley system where he sent slices of homemade pizza down in paper bags.

He began signing people up via email on the nonprofit’s Instagram account and serving them pies from his window on a first-come, first-served basis for a Venmo donation, 100% of which he donated to Philabundance, Share Food, or Project Home Program.

Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical Raised Over $1 Million for Actors Fund

A snippet from the Ratatouille animation

Some dreams seem almost impossible: like staging a brand-new Broadway musical during an ongoing pandemic when theaters throughout the world are dark, or a rodent becoming a chef in a top Parisian restaurant. Finding a way to combine both and raise more than one million dollars to benefit charity also seems difficult. However, this is what happened when the curtain rose on Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical in the first weeks of 2021.

Adhering to the adage that some good things come in small packages, including rodents with visions of glory, the origins of the show are pretty humble.

A School Teacher With a Noble Cause

Ratatouille's TikTok musical poster Back in August of 2020, 26-year-old Emily Jacobson, who is a school teacher and also a devoted theater junkie/Disney fan and avowed “Ratatouille” aficionado, learned a themed attraction that’s based on Remy and his team was scheduled to open at Walt Disney World in Florida in 2021.

Inspired, she came up with a love ballad to her favorite diminutive hero:

“Remy, the ratatouille The rat of all my dreams I praise you, my ratatouille May the world remember your name.”

Ratatouille’s Success on TikTok

Emily Jacobson posted her video on TikTok and tagged some friends, one of whom happened to be music whiz Daniel Mertzlufft. He added the instruments, orchestration, and vocals to the tune via computer. Instead of an ending, the Disney-worthy finale Mertzlufft created was the spark that helped the video go viral and launched a thousand videos that would eventually become “Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical.”

The mouse from the Ratatouille animation Starring Tituss Burgess as Remy, and co-starring Wanye Brady, Kevin Chamberlin, Adam Lambert, Andrew Barth Feldman, Ashley Parks, Priscilla Lopez, Owen Tabaka, Andre De Shields, and Mary Testa, since its January 1 premiere, the musical has raised more than $1 million for the Actors Fund.

The original 72-hour run was so successful that a second performance was added on January 10. The show is a financial boon to the performers, but its importance has a much broader reach.