coronavirus pandemic

‘Tears of Joy': Community Saves DC Restaurant Known for Serving Less Fortunate

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A D.C. restaurant owner who would feed anyone, regardless of whether they could pay, nearly went out of business because of the coronavirus pandemic. But then the community stepped up in a way he could never have imagined.

Thousands of donors helped save Kazi Mannan's restaurant, Sakina Halal Grill, from going under.

You might call it a case of good karma.

"I used to preach don't let anybody fall, and pick them them up. Today, you picked me up and I am overwhelmed. I have tears in my eyes … tears of joy," Mannan said. "I will say thank you, thank you, America. Thank you, generous people."

Over the years, the little grill on K Street has made a big difference D.C.

Each day Mannan would feed people down on their luck meals for free. Sometimes, he says he'd serve as many as 80 free meals in a day.

"I used to see people looking for food in trash cans. It would break my heart," Mannan said.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, downtown streets became deserted and his regular customers disappeared.

Mannan had to lay-off his employees and close the the grill altogether.

He recently decided to establish a GoFundMe page to try and save his grill.

The response was overwhelming with more than $240,000 donated so far.

"We are very hopeful that everything will get back and we will have more employees back to work and more jobs for the people in the community and we're ready to serve the homeless community the same way we used to serve. I think it's coming soon in maybe a few weeks," Mannan said.

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