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DC restaurant providing free meals to homeless exceeds GoFundMe goal amid pandemic

DC restaurant providing free meals to homeless exceeds GoFundMe goal amid pandemic
© A screenshot of Kazi Mannan's GoFundMe campaign. (GoFundMe)

A Washington, D.C., restaurant owner that began raising money to provide meals for the homeless during the pandemic exceeded his fundraising goal in a month. 

Kazi Mannan, owner of Pakistani restaurant Sakina Halal Grill in D.C., said a GoFundMe he started raised more than $300,000 from more than 6,500 donors since Mannan began his campaign this month.

The business owner, whose restaurant is located blocks from the White House, has been feeding the homeless for free for almost a decade.

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But as the COVID-19 pandemic worsened, Mannan ran into financial troubles that resulted in staff layoffs and cutting the free meals program. He then turned to the crowdfunding site to help his business remain open, allowing him to continue to provide meals for the needy, ABC reported.

"Sakina Halal Grill has proudly served meals to the homeless independently and unsupported by any donations from patrons. He has always refused the offers as Sakina Halal Grill has been able to sustain this mission with its own funds and the prayers of the community," the GoFundMe page reads.

"Due to the pandemic, however, 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."

It appears that the wildly successful community-funded campaign will allow Mannan to return to his previous business model.

“My dream is to go back to the same old ways," Mannan said. “To go back and anybody who can’t afford a meal, come in. … Now it looks like that dream is coming into reality.”