Mike View, a born and raised Scranton man, moved to Philadelphia in 2014 and currently lives in the city's Roxborough neighborhood. The transition was difficult since he didn't know anyone. So he created an Instagram page to connect with the community through fitness. He called it "Pancakes and Protein Shakes."
"Pancakes and Proteins Shakes started out as a fitness-driven page. These gyms would bring me to different restaurants and in short I would start changing the way I was thinking," said View.
That thinking took him from running a health and fitness page to promoting Philly businesses, artists, and restaurants all with Instagram photos. It's morphed into a page with three principles: support all things local, adopt don't shop, and giving back. Today, they have almost 16,000 followers, and the page continues to evolve.
"I'm here just promoting togetherness, community, friendship, and we made a page based around that and everyone gravitated toward that," said View.
He realized he could use the platform to help local businesses in need, too. In March of 2020, he started a fundraiser through the page for the Pennsylvania SPCA after a $60 donation jar was stolen and ended up raising $1,600 in an hour and a half.
"I thought, 'Wow this is really something,'" he recalled.
Inspired to raise more money, View began selling Pancakes and Protein Shakes shirts, donating the profits to local charities. Last year they raised over $11,400 for organizations like Kisses for Kyle and Autism Cares.
"The important part is just giving back to the community, empower the community, and we vote every day with our dollar," said View. "People need to understand that if they're not here doing something for others, none of this means anything if you're not making this a better place."