Hillsborough’s Bella Pizza was on a mission to raise awareness

For the month of April, one restaurant in Hillsborough is helping raise awareness for organ and tissue donation.

This month, Bella Pizza, which is located on 340 S Branch Road, helped the New Jersey Sharing Network reach people in town on this topic by distributing the non-profits custom pizza boxes designed to raise awareness on organ donation.

According to NJ Sharing Network officials, the non-profit is a federally designated organ procurement organization responsible for the recovery of organs and tissue in the state.

“This hits close to home for me. My mother is a transplant recipient. She is on her second kidney transplant. She is dear to my heart, so organ donation is something that is truly personal to me,” said Akhtar Farzaie, owner of Bella Pizza.

He said he reached out to NJ Sharing Network to get involved after seeing one of their messages online.

“We distributed 100 pizza boxes. I was hoping to distribute more. The boxes were fantastic they were very eye catching,” Farzaie said. “A lot of my customers were intrigued by them. I had advised my staff to make certain that they mention the message of the pizza boxes, which is organ donation. Spending a couple seconds with the customers on what the numbers meant on the box, as well as, the message I believe made an impact. I just did not want customers leaving think this was just some cool new design for a pizza box.”

He said it was important to him personally that people were able to get the message.

“The Sharing Network is a fantastic organization,” Farzaie said. “They did not ask anything of us. The boxes also did not cost us anything. I felt it was my responsibility, as well as, my staff to go a step further with this and actually engage with the customers about this important topic.”

An estimated 15,000 pizza boxes are being distributed throughout the state, all with the message of the importance of organ and tissue donation, according to NJ Sharing Network Officials.

“This grassroots campaign personalizes the need for organ and tissue donation by showing the residents of New Jersey just how many of their neighbors are waiting for a life-saving transplant. Organ and tissue donation means life or death for anyone, your next-door-neighbor, the person you wave to every morning on your way to work or the barista who serves you a cup of coffee,” said Joe Roth, President and CEO of NJ Sharing Network. “New Jersey is home to some of the best pizzerias and coffee shops in the country. Picking up a pizza or cup of coffee this April can bring us one step closer to saving even more lives.”

According to officials, 100 restaurants are participating throughout April for ‘Donate Life Month’, as well as, bagel shops and coffee shops.

“We are talking about saving lives and giving a whole new lease on life for certain people, which I think is important,” Farzaie said. “Without a doubt if they have this opportunity again next year Bella Pizza will be a part of it. I will to do whatever it takes to get the word out there.”

For more information on Bella Pizza, visit www.bellapizza1.com, to learn more about the NJ Sharing Network visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org.