Muslim-owned Montreal Restaurant Offers Free Food To Homeless People

A Muslim-owned restaurant in Canada is offering free food to the hungry.

Marche Ferdous, a Middle Eastern restaurant in Montreal, says he started handing out food around four months ago to help homeless people.

A sign outside the restaurant, written in English and French, reads “People with no money welcome to eat for free”.

The owner, Yahya Hashemi, said he did not “consider how much it will cost” and instead consider it a business expense.

He told CBC News the idea came when he saw how often people in the area would be asked for spare change to buy food.

At first he would give them money to spend in the restaurant but then decided it would be simpler to tell them the food was free.

He put the sign up because “some are shy, some don’t believe we are offering this”.

The Iranian-born businessman, who also owns a currency exchange next door, said it was part of his faith to help those in need and wanted to give back to Canada as it had already given him so much.

Mr Hashemi said his patrons had been inspired by his generosity and had begun donating money so he can continue to help.

He said: “They come here, they donate $20, $30, $50 and they say, ‘OK, the next few people are on me’”.

The restaurant’s chef, Abdelkader Bejaoui, told CTV News that it “was not that big a deal”.

He said: “It doesn’t matter, because at night if you still have leftover food you end up throwing it out, so why not give to those in need? It’s not a big deal”.

It follows a similar move by a Muslim-owned restaurant in Winchester which offers free meals to the homeless and the elderly at least twice a year.

Romi Miah, the manager of the Light of Bengal curry house, said: “We do it twice a year, usually once around Christmas. Nobody else does it, but there are a lot of homeless people and they need food.

“It’s something different and we’re giving something back.”