When the pandemic threatened the Washington, DC restaurant, known for feeding the homeless, to close, the whole community gathered to support the restaurant owner. What they did shocked him and caused him to burst into tears of joy.
Kazi Mannan’s heart goes out to all the hungry and homeless. For years, he has been providing meals to the homeless who come into the restaurant. He sets a no-questions-asked policy and gives free meals to anyone who is hungry, poor, or homeless.
According to an outlet report, Mannan and his staff estimated handing out 16,000 free meals in 2018 alone.
Because of this, the community knows him and supports his efforts. Sakina Halal Grill is located just a few blocks from the White House. They offer an all-you-can-eat Pakistani buffet.
Mannan told WLJA, “If you can’t afford a meal, come in and have a free meal. Enjoy the same atmosphere that everybody who is paying is enjoying.” He added, “I’m trying to worship our Creator through food.”
Apparently, Mannan’s compassion stems from his own experience. “Once upon a time, I was in a similar situation where I didn’t have enough money to eat. You pass by a restaurant but never able to go in. When you don’t have money, nobody is going to let you in.”
Mannan has always refused the offers of donations from his patrons as Sakina Halal Grill has been able to sustain their mission “with its own funds and the prayers of the community.”
Support from community
Unfortunately, they began to suffer during the pandemic. With a heavy heart, he pleaded for support from his patrons. “Business was doing very well,” he explained. “Before COVID-19 hit, we were feeding 70 to 80 people free meals a day. Right now, we are in a bad shape and unable to pay rent. I am unable to pay my mortgage.”
So, friends set up a GoFundMe page for Mannan. And amazingly, he has raised over $300,000! “I am speechless and overwhelmed by your support,” he said. “It was heartbreaking for me to ask the public to come out and support me.”
“I promise you I won’t disappoint you. We are going to do very big things,” he told WJLA. “I can never imagine in my life how much you all trust me and care for me because you saw my heart that I genuinely care for others.”