Why Raj will feed hundreds for free on Christmas Day
LET us remember that the Christmas heart is a giving heart, a wide open heart that thinks of others first.
That poignant sentiment, expressed by the late and loved American newspaper columnist George Adams, is one that Indian Mehfil owner Raj Sharma will make a reality on Christmas Day at his Ipswich CBD restaurant.
Mr Sharma will open for an extended lunch on Christmas Day at all three of his Indian Mehfil restaurants and ensure that the elderly, homeless and those doing it tough do not eat alone at a time that can by lonely for some.
Mr Sharma expects to prepare 250 to 300 meals on December 25 where people can dine-in or take away at Indian Mehfil with no questions asked.
"We remember our loved ones the most when festivals happen - whether that be Christmas, Diwali or Eid," Mr Sharma said.
"When we celebrated Christmas in the past we used to close the restaurant and invite my staff and their families to our home where me and my wife would cook.
"Our staff is our family, and the community is our extended family.
"So we thought we would do something for our extended family, because what we are today is because of the community.
"This is the least we can do."
Mr Sharma understands well how many community members have their families located right around our vast land, and indeed the globe.
"I have one brother in Canada, one in Mackay, my mum and dad live back home (in India) and all my in-laws are back home," he said.
"So my first family is my Ipswich community."
Mr Sharma is a successful businessman but he recognises that not all are as fortunate as he is.
Ipswich is not Ascot, and there are many battlers who struggle to get through each week with food on the table.
"A lot of people in the community are doing it very tough," he said.
"We must show them all compassion and when we bring out the best in ourselves we can give back to others in these tough times.
"I see the line at Centrelink keep on increasing and I know that there must be a lot of people in Ipswich who have no jobs and are struggling."
The restaurant will open at 11am on Christmas Day and will stay open until 3pm.
"But if we need to stay open for hungry people we will do whatever it takes," Mr Sharma said.
"I hope more people in the community will do this.
"We all want to embrace a good time, but also reach out to those experiencing tough times.
"Indian Mefhil and my family will always be there, and whatever I have I will always share.
"My dad always taught me that sharing is caring."
The Gospels record how Jesus fed over 5000 men, women and children with five loaves and two fish. They were in need and he satisfied that need.
Mr Sharma is not a prophet, but he has put profit to the side so that the community can prosper.