Mumbai: Vasai man who shut restaurant after lockdown, reopened to donate food to needy
With financial help of his relatives in Kuwait, Shaikh opened up his restaurant to donate food packets to the migrants.
When Mashhoon Ahmed Shaikh, 47, started his restaurant on the highway at Vasai, little did he know that the pandemic would shut down the city just a few days later. After witnessing the plight of migrants walking back home, Shaikh decided to use his restaurant to distribute food for them and even now, continues to donate food packets to orphanages and old age homes.
Shaikh, who was earlier in the construction business, decided to try his luck in the food industry and opened Highway Darbar in Vasai back in March. Just 20 days later, when the lockdown was announced, he had to shut his restaurant down and go back home. In May, when thousands of migrants started to walk back home after losing their jobs, donations and relief poured in from all parts of the city which prompted Shaikh and his relatives to pitch in the efforts.
With financial help of his relatives in Kuwait, Shaikh opened up his restaurant to donate food packets to the migrants. "I have 15 workers and after I shut my restaurant, some of them had gone back home. Around 7-8 had stayed back and they helped at the restaurant. We made pulao with fresh vegetable and gave it to the migrant families along with water bottles, biscuits and bananas," he said.
After the majority of the migrants had gone back home, destitute people continued to line up at the restaurant. While food donations have largely stopped in the city, Shaikh intends to continue donating food packets to the needy. Over the past few weeks, Shaikh has been dropping off food packets at orphanages in Nalasopara and Vasai Virar as well as madarsas nearby. "People really enjoyed the pulao and some would even come to buy it. Around 5-10 people come even now at the dhaba and we never let anyone go hungry. Starting October 15, we'll donate food to more orphanages and old age homes," he said.
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