A restaurant in Guelph that has donated 3,500 meals so far during the pandemic will continue to give with a new initiative during Thanksgiving.
Kirtida Kitchen, a vegan-Indian restaurant located on Eramosa Road, started the 30 Hot Meal Drive on Oct. 1 to support the Guelph Food Bank.
Everyday until Oct. 12, Kirtida Kitchen will donate 30 hot meals to the food bank to help residents in need.
Hitesh Jagard and Kirtida Jagard own Kirtida Kitchen. They, along with occasional help from two volunteers, have made, packaged and distributed 170 hot meals.
Their goal at the end of the drive is to have donated 360 meals.
“Yesterday I gave them 50 meals on Monday and 60 today because they were closed on Saturday and Sunday,” said Hitesh Jagard, “And we're giving them 40 tomorrow to catch up.”
He mentions the meals they donate are never planned, but normally involve rice and some type of curry, which is prepared the morning of delivery. He will prepare the food that Kirtida Kitchen will donate before opening.
Besides participating in the 30 Hot Meal Drive, Kirtida Kitchen is also working with a Mississauga-based organization called Sai Dham Food Bank, to donate 60 meals every Sunday to the homeless.
"Their volunteer comes here with other food packages and we give them the 60 hot meals for the homeless in Downtown Guelph." said Jagard, as he explains how this weekly initiative works.
"The people are so glad that they have the hot meals on Sunday morning." he continues, "They get so happy."
Jagard said their restaurant have been giving away healthy, hot meals since COVID began. Besides helping those in vulnerable situations, Kirtida Kitchen has donated hot meals to frontline workers at hospitals, grocery stores, banks and have also provided meals for international students.
On top of all of that, Kirtida Kitchen has also donated 1,750 gift certificates to Guelph General Hospital staff in appreciation.
“We were giving a little bit away before, but after COVID, we started doing a lot more than before.” said Jagard, “We've seen many community members that need help after COVID.”
He adds their business has been lucky to be supported by the City of Guelph and are happy to see others respond positively to what they’re doing.
"People thinking. We're doing a really good job for the community." said Jagard.
The restaurant plans to continue giving away hot meals to those in need every Sunday.
“Guelph is a very nice town and they are also supporting small businesses," said Jagard, "So we thought, 'why not support the town the way they're supporting us?'"
“If we can, we can.”