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A restaurant owner in Texas is offering free meals to people in need, no questions asked.
It is the second time the restaurant has made this offering during the pandemic.
Vira Chudasma, owner of Italian restaurant La Riv in Temple, Texas, said that when people started hoarding groceries at the start of the pandemic, she knew she had to do something to help her community.
“Here I am with all this product on my shelves, our doors are closed and people are hoarding groceries and worrying about their next meal,” Chudasma told CNN. “Of course I was going to help.”
Chudasma, who immigrated from India over two decades ago, posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page in early April letting her followers know that if they were struggling to find their next meal, they could place up to two orders at La Riv at no cost.
Chudasma says she was shocked to learn just how many people in her community were struggling.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Chudasma said. “We fulfilled more than 1,000 orders in one week after I posted on Facebook.”
Almost one year later, Chudasma is once again offering free meals as Texans continue to struggle with the effects of a deadly winter storm that still has nearly 20,000 customers in the Lone Star state without power, as of Tuesday evening.
“Can you or anyone you know benefit from a free pasta meal?” Chudasma wrote in a Facebook post this week. “No question asked.”
“Covid and now the recent snowstorm has brought numerous challenges in our daily lives, however, we feel drawn to give back and make sure our community is taken care of,” the post read. “We are so overwhelmed with the support received from our community that we want to give back stronger than before.”
The 42-year-old mother says she is able to provide free meals thanks to the “silent donors” in her community who have continued to support her efforts throughout the pandemic.
“What I’ve realized from all this is that I shouldn’t be waiting for a catastrophic event to offer free food to people,” Chudasma said. “We should always be helping each other.”
Chudasma says she is in the early stages of forming a non-profit to help fight hunger.