This restaurant owner has a menu for the hungry and homeless

Posted June 7

This man's restaurant has a sign on the back door welcoming the homeless to eat a free meal anytime. (Deseret Photo)

There are many organizations that fight hunger throughout the world, but Parkash Chhibber is working to fight hunger in his own neighborhood of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Parkash owns a quaint, family-run restaurant called Indian Fusion. And, since 2009, he has made free meals available to anyone who is hungry and cannot pay.

The invitation was first made to the people who Parkash found digging through his restaurant’s dumpster. Immediately, Parkash invited them in for a free meal. They became regulars to the establishment. When they stopped coming, the family missed them and wanted to invite others in to take advantage of the free meal.

Realizing he could not possibly reach all those in need by word of mouth alone, Parkash decided to create a sign to advertise his generous offer.

For the past six months, that sign has had a prominent place on the back door of his establishment.

The sign simply states:

"Dear friends,

If you are hungry and have no money to pay, just ring the bell below or come in for a free meal box/coffee any time."

In a second sign, Parkash has listed the free meal menu, which includes a vegetarian or non-vegetarian meal of the day and drink options. It also kindly asks if there are food allergies to alert the server.

The sign exudes kindness, non-judgement and generosity.

Parkash serves the same food to his non-paying guests that he feeds to his paying customers.

"We are so fortunate to have a lot of food inside," Parkash said.

Despite all that Parkash does for those in need in his area, he wishes he could do more.

"I am not going out of my way," he said. "This is my way of life. I am not doing anything extra."

Those whose lives are being blessed are certain to disagree.

Many have come to support Parkash’s Indian Fusion restaurant because they heard about the owner’s generosity through social media. But to Parkash it isn’t about money.

"I always say in a joke, the front door is for paying my bills," he said, "and the back door is for something that’s quite personal."

It is because of Parkash’s way of living that paying customers are flocking to his establishment. Indian Fusion truly is a family establishment — Parkash treats all guests, whether paying or not, like they’re part of his own family.

Parkash’s way of life is something we can all learn from. Parkash saw a need and filled it with something he knew he could easily do. Making food for those in need is no different than making it for his customers.

Imagine the impact we could have on the world if we all filled needs we recognized in the lives of those around us. It is when we learn to see through the eyes of another that we can best understand what those needs are.

I challenge all of us to find those needs and to fill them, just as Parkash has.

Tiffany Fletcher, author of "Mother Had a Secret: Learning to Love my Mother and her Multiple Personalities"


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