Life is full of surprises. Parkash Chhibber knows this fact better than most people, having been bedridden for two years after a car crash left him with shattered bones, not long after he had just gotten married. When he recovered well enough to start working, he moved to Canada with his family with only $10 in his pocket. Now, Parkash owns a thriving family restaurant that’s giving back to his community in a massive way.
Parkash has come a long way from his humble beginnings, having opened Indian Fusion in Edmonton, Alberta in 2009. One day in 2014, the restaurant owner noticed homeless people sifting through garbage behind his restaurant, looking for something to eat. He immediately had compassion on them, telling Edmonton Journal “I felt really bad. I thought, I have a lot of food inside, let’s go ask them.”
What started as a small act of kindness grew exponentially. When word spread that a family restaurant was offering free food to people who needed it, Parkash started to get a lot of knocks on the door. Now, every month, Parkash’s restaurant, Indian Fusion serves 1600 completely free meals to anyone in need, no questions asked. Parkash is now even joined with about 40 volunteers from Line of Hope to meet the needs of his community.
“I know a lot of people depend upon me at the back door. The people who come through the front door can go anywhere, but this is our responsibility,” he says. “This door has to be open, we know that. We cannot even think of closing the back door, never.”
Parkash is grateful to his staff and the volunteers who help make Indian Fusion’s free meals possible: “I am very fortunate. My staff, they don’t get tired, the volunteers, they don’t get tired. My name comes up, but there are a lot of people working behind.”
A friendly sign hangs in one of the store windows, reading:
Dear friends, if you are hungry and have no money to pay, just knock on the door for a free meal box or coffee any time. Stay blessed.
“I went from king to beggar in one night,” he said. “I almost died. This is my second life, so I want to make the best use of it. I always had fire in me that if ever I had a chance to help, I would. I had to give back to the community.”
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