Moroccan Soup Bar owner, Hana Assafiri, is leading an innovative pay-it-forward initiative that has so far prepared and delivered more than 1,400 nutritious meals to medical workers at St Vincent’s and Royal Melbourne hospitals.
Ms Assafiri says the decision to close her much-loved restaurant was about doing what she could to assist in flattening the curve and to prevent adding further pressure on the healthcare system.
“We understand the transmission of this virus so for me, closing (the restaurant and takeaway) was a decision made because we were busy, not because we were quiet,” she said.
The initiative is funded by generous donations from the community and is intended to support frontline workers in a real and meaningful way.
“We wanted to turn the gratitude that the community had into something tangible, like a practical meal. The heart of Melbourne is food, so we wanted to feed them, and the community has dug deep and really got on board.”
“This cause enabled us to look at the strength of our communities in times like this and (shows) they’re not just hollow words. The community has really got behind this campaign, which has been brilliant,” she said.
Ms Assafiri says the focus now is to get everyone together working collaboratively to sustain the efforts of the initiative. She particularly urges corporations and companies to support these local campaigns.
“This is the ideal time for communities to strengthen, to come out of this looking locally, supporting one another in a way that is collaborative not competitive. Through that strengthening, we will come out better. This is an extraordinary opportunity, as difficult as the times are,” she said.
The Commission is impressed and inspired by Ms Assafiri’s efforts. It’s another great example of an initiative that demonstrates how our multicultural community is supporting others during the coronavirus crisis.
Reviewed 23 June 2021