Abe’s Hot Dogs, a mainstay on South Mountain Boulevard, has long been a popular stop for locals to pick up lunch and for children to fill their bellies after a visit to the township park.
Appreciative of its customers, Abe’s owners decided to give back through a “Pay it Forward” wall where those who are hungry but short on cash can come in for a free meal.
“If you’re low on cash or you forgot your wallet at home and you’re driving through Mountain Top at lunchtime, come on in,” related manager Sandy Weitoish. “There’s no reason anyone should be hungry in Mountain Top.”
The way the wall works is, someone pays in advance the price of a hot dog, cup of coffee, or any other Abe’s menu item, and then Sandy writes “Free Hot Dog” on a post-it where someone in need can pull it from the wall in the eatery and enjoy a free lunch.
The notion for this came to Sandy about six months ago, when her friend at a local coffee shop told her about a pizzeria in Philadelphia that implemented the same idea to help feed the homeless.
“It was very impromptu. I used a couple of stick-ems,” Sandy recalled of her friend’s first contribution to the wall –one for a free hot dog and another for a free cup of coffee.
Customers of Abe’s saw the post-its and reacted right away, Sandy said. “They asked questions about it and said, ‘Oh, that’s a nice idea. Let me put one up there too.’”
And so the Pay It Forward wall began to grow. Customers kept adding to it, but no one was taking the charity, so Sandy decided to spread the word about the wall on Facebook. Soon after, she was on the TV news.
Now, the wall reaches up to the ceiling with at least 80 free food items. A sign at the top of the wall reads, “These items have been paid for by previous customers for the use by anyone who is feeling down or