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TRAVIS, Staten Island (PIX11) — A Staten Island pizzeria had been open for just two weeks when one night two pregnant women with about seven small children came knocking on the door at closing time.

“They were starving and asking for food,” said Sebastian Bongiovanni, who operates Verde’s Pizza and Pasta House in Travis.

So Bongiovanni gave the women and children pizza and water and watched as the group quietly ate. Afterward, the women directed the children to go to the counter and thank the owner for his kindness.

“That meant a lot to me,” Bongiovanni told PIX11 News on Monday. “I never saw starving people eat. They had such a smile on their face … No talking, just smiles.”

The owner was unaware the women and children were asylum seekers who were staying at nearby hotels until the next day when more people showed up to eat, he said. Bongiovanni said the migrants had been knocking on doors at homes and businesses in the area asking for food and money.

But that has stopped since the pizzeria owner and Travis residents rallied to help the asylum seekers, he said. Many of the customers have donated money or bought pies for the families.

On Sunday, the families were treated to a small pizza party when one customer ordered about a half-dozen pies that were delivered to their hotel, Bongiovanni said.

NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams gave the owner of Verde’s Pizza and Pasta House, Sebastian Bongiovanni, middle, and his wife, Danielle, a citation for helping the asylum seekers. (Photo credit: Caroll Andrewsk/NYC Public Advocate’s Office)

“Everyone deserves a slice of pizza once in a while,” he said.

Last week, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams gave the pizzeria a citation for its efforts, according to a spokesperson for Williams.