"It only made sense for us to give free meals"
A takeaway boss has been helping the elderly and vulnerable in Rishton, Lancashire, amid the ongoing pandemic by donating free meals.
Suly Ali owns Big Bite takeaway. He explained that he was so worried about the welfare of people in the community that he came up with a delivery service.
So far, he has donated £150 to residents but is now calling on elderly people to get food.
Mr Ali said: “At the time, the public was panic buying and leaving supermarket shelves empty.
“It was heartbreaking to know the elderly have been coming home and had very minimum food supply to make their evening tea.
“The Government advised over-70s to self isolate so while self-isolating how would they go out to get food to make.
“It only made sense for us to give free meals to every vulnerable elderly that had to self isolate.
“All our deliveries during COVID-19 are contact-free as we leave the food on the doorstep and notify the customer that it has arrived.
“The free meal package has no restriction and the elderly can order anything, we don’t mind.
“It takes a lot of courage for them to ring and ask for help.
“So we let them order anything from our big menu because we know the elder generation are very humble and will only order sensibly.”
Mr Ali revealed that they can order any pizza, burger or kebab from the Big Bite Rishton menu and any Peri Peri Chicken or any curry from the AL Minara Rishton menu.
Community members have welcomed the kind gesture with some donating money to the business to deliver food and the takeaway boss has been amazed by the response.
Mr Ali told the Lancashire Telegraph: “The reaction has been overwhelming.
“All local customers have been praising our work and thanking us
“One person told us that the community should get involved and pay forward towards this free package meal to keep it going.”
“That same night a local customer ordered his meal and said Suly ‘I love what you guys doing, charge me for an extra pizza and give it towards the free meal’.
“All our free meals go out with a small uplifting message to them.”
He added: “The Rishton community is very strong and it has been proven many times.
“When things get tough we all come together.
“My father first opened Al Minara in Rishton 1982 and lived in Rishton for many years and then moved to Blackburn but has worked in Rishton since I joined his business in 2008 when I was 16 and have stayed since.
“Over these 12 years, I feel I have earned the locals respect, trust and love.
“Always help your local community and elderly.”
Elderly or vulnerable residents in Rishton should contact 01254 883560 if they are interested in a meal box.