Up in Edmonton, Alberta is a restaurant called Indian Fusion that serves as a hip Indian eatery as a well as a place where the hungry can count on a free meal.
“I have seen enough hunger in the past. I know the pain of not having food.” Says the owner and head chef of Indian Fusion, Parkash Chhibber.
Chhibber who is originally from Indian has seen true hunger on the streets. He is now in a place in his life where he feels blessed and feels he is just doing his part by opening his restaurant up for those in need.
Indian Fusion has been open since 2009 and since roughly 2014 Chhibber has been offering free meals. It was only in the last 6 months that the sign has been up which says:
If you are hungry and have no money to pay, just ring the bell below or come in for a free meal box/coffee anytime.”
Underneath that sign there is another that explains what is offered: a vegetarian, a non-vegetarian and a drink option. He put the sign up when he realized that there was more people he wanted to help than he could keep up with asking.
“I thought, how many people can I go and ask, ‘Are you hungry?’ It’s not possible, so I thought, why not put up a sign? In case someone is hungry.”
The has increased traffic but he still feels there should be more people reached. On average it is only a few but it varies; some days there are as many as 10 people and some days there are none.
“I can not say how many we served but I feel we should have reached more people,”
But now it looks like his dream of truly helping a large amount of people may come true as the sign has made the next leap, it was posted on social media. An Edmonton local has recently posted the sign on Imgur after she saw it walking home from school. Now 2 million people have seen the sign and the traffic is expected to increase dramatically. Daniella Tintinaglia, the local who snapped and posted the photo said she has not eaten there herself but loved the idea and wanted to share it, believing it was a beautiful thing for Chibber to do.
Chhibber’s outlook on life and where he is now has not come easy. When he was still in New Delhi he was his by a car and was almost killed, only three months after being married. He was bed ridden due to his injuries for almost three years.
“I had nine multiple fractures. Five steel rods were placed in my body to support my crushed bones.”
Yet, he remained strong.
“One particular evening me and my wife literally had nothing to eat or any money. I was always shy to ask for help in terms of money, So, on my crutches, me and my wife decided to visit some of our friends’ houses at around dinner time.”
It was not until 2005 that Chhibber was able to immigrate to Canada. Eventually his children and wife came as well and he was able to open his restaurant. It is perhaps because of his own struggles that Chhibber has become so empathetic and loving.
Writer and Coffee Addict