Turkish restaurant owners offer Christmas dinner to London’s homeless, lonely
LONDON – Anadolu AgencySerdar Kiğılı, a Turkish restaurateur in the quiet London suburb of Sidcup, and his business partner Tacettin Genç, have suddenly turned into popular figures on social media after announcing plans to offer Christmas dinner to elderly and homeless people in the neighborhood.
Local and international reporters flocked to southeast London to hear their story following a social media message which went viral in just a few days after an ad-mirer shared the announcement in the front window of their restaurant, Shish.
“No-one eats alone on Christmas Day. We are here to sit with you. Three-course meal for elderly and homeless, free of charge,” the announcement read.
“When this was reported as a Muslim restaurant providing a free meal for the elderly and homeless, we started to receive hundreds of messages,” Kiğılı told Anadolu Agency.
“We have not done this to seek fame or anything but since we put up the an-nouncement, we have been contacted by many media people for interviews and even live broadcasts,” he added.
It all started when an elderly woman who lived alone very close to the restau-rant asked for their help to close a window in her apartment one night, he said. “We felt for her when she told us she lived on her own.
We then thought of a free meal for the elderly and homeless on Christmas Day.”
Genç’s 19-year old son, İrfan Can Genç, said they had planned the event for about 40-50 people but thanks to social media and reporters’ attention, they now expect four times more people on the day.
“We don’t really live in a nice way at the moment, so I think everyone should get to come together,” he said.
“As a Muslim, we are saying this: ‘I think, religion, cul-ture… should not matter. We all need to come together because everyone is bet-ter together, really.’”
The Christmas Day menu will feature traditional Turkish foods such as the yoghurt dip cacık, traditional soups, chicken or vegetarian casserole, chicken shish kebab and sütlaç, a popular Turkish rice pudding.