A restaurant owner known for feeding anyone—regardless of whether they can pay for their meal—nearly lost his business because of the pandemic. Then the local community began giving in the most generous way.
Since a family member posted a GoFundMe campaign for his D.C. restaurant, Sakina Halal Grill, Kazi Mannan has received over $331,430 from more than 7,100 people—and the donations keep rolling in.
“I used to preach don’t let anybody fall, and pick them them up,” said to his donors in an interview. “You picked me up and I am overwhelmed. I have tears in my eyes … tears of joy. Thank you, thank you, America. Thank you, generous people.”
Many of the thousands donating see Mannan as the generous one. Before COVID-19 hit, he was serving up 80 free meals to people in need every day day.
“I used to see people looking for food in trash cans. It would break my heart,” Mannan said.
The streets of downtown D.C. became deserted as people began working from home in the pandemic. Mannan had to let his employees go. He had to close the grill.
At a loss, a family member decided to launch a GoFundMe campaign for the popular restaurant on November 11. Abdul Mannan wrote:
“We are underwater and looking to survive this season so the doors do not close on Sakina Halal Grill… Every cent is equally important in keeping this dream, and important community resource, alive so please do what you can. We appreciate your support and prayers.”
With that campaign still going strong more than a month on, the restaurant that serves anyone—no matter their circumstances—looks set to last through these difficult times.