A restaurant in Montreal, has been quietly serving the homeless for free for months. It’s the kind of story that makes you feel like “As long as there are still people out there like co-owners, Ala Amiry and Yahya Hashemi, we might be okay!”
Marché Ferdous serves Middle Eastern fare and is located in downtown Montreal. Having opened only about six months ago, Amiry says that their location is near a church, where they noticed a large homeless population. So a few months ago they put a simple, inconspicuous sign up in the window. It said, “People with no money welcome to eat free.” It was in both English and French.
“We noticed many homeless who were asking for food, asking for money, and they ask for discounts and they don’t have enough money for a sandwich,” Amiry told Uproxx. “So we decided to give them the food for free. Because you know, it was breaking our hearts to see people so hungry. And we believe that (giving away food) preserves the dignity of a human being.”
When asked if there were certain items restricted, Amiry said no. “They can take whatever they want! Shawarma chicken, and rice, and salad. And if they want soup or a drink (they can have that too).” There are no restrictions to who comes in or why, and they make a point to ask no questions. It’s a thoughtful and dignified gesture that sets Marché Ferdous apart. Anyone who has a need will be given a meal without shame or conditions.
So far Amiry says they have been giving four to six meals out a day to people in need but he expects more to come in now that the word is spreading.
Amiry says he has many touching stories now of people coming in to eat. It’s heartwarming for him and he’s been incredibly touched by his paying customers too. Once they saw him giving out meals, they began giving money as well, to help others eat. “There are many people giving 20 dollars,” he says gratefully. Amiry appreciates the love and support spreading from people around the world. But he does this because he cares and wants to make a difference for his fellow man. “We are proud of this” he says happily, “and our kids are proud of us now too!”
So if you find yourself in the Montreal area go and support this establishment that’s making a difference, one meal at a time.