How a Montreal pizzeria is helping to feed people in need, no questions asked

Click to play video: 'Montreal pizzeria, generous clients helping those in need, no questions asked'
Montreal pizzeria, generous clients helping those in need, no questions asked
WATCH: A Montreal-area pizzeria is feeding it forward. Emma's Pizzeria in Pointe-Claire has launched an initiative that involves covering its front door with pre-paid receipts. As Global’s Felicia Parrillo reports, it's matching generous clients, with those in need – Mar 7, 2024

Melanie Dreiblatt knows what it’s like to be hungry and now the Montreal restaurant owner is trying to make sure anyone down on their luck can come by for a warm meal, free of charge.

Emma’s Pizzeria in Pointe-Claire, Que., launched an initiative to cover its front door with pre-paid receipts to feed customers in need.

“I know what it is to have nothing and to come from nothing,” Dreiblatt said in an interview Thursday, explaining there was a time she didn’t have enough money to eat.

“I have been there so I want them to know that we do care and we appreciate this community.”

Dreiblatt and her husband Marc Gordon own the establishment and strive to welcome every customer like family. They named the pizzeria after their six-year-old daughter, Emma.

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Right before the holidays, the family business took a new step to help their community by trying to give back when so many people are struggling to make ends meet. Dreiblatt said she was inspired by a restaurant in another country and decided to follow its lead.

The door of Emma’s Pizzeria is plastered with receipts of donated meals. Felicia Parrillo/Global News

Dreiblatt paid for a few pizzas and stuck the receipts on the bright red door. A sign with capital letters lets potential clients know they can grab one of the receipts and the kitchen will prepare the pre-paid plate.

“You don’t have to be embarrassed if you’re struggling,” she said.

“You look at the door, you find a meal you like and give it to the waiter. She gives it to the kitchen. Fifteen minutes later, it’s ready. You take your meal and you go about your day.”

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The initiative struck a chord and West Islanders began dropping in to donate.

“I think it’s incredible,” said Victoria Jonas, who is among those who decided to give. “I think especially on the West Island, people feel that we are all rich and wealthy. That’s not the case.”

After Emma’s Pizzeria shared the idea on its social media, it took off. Dreiblatt estimates up to 100 meals have been donated to date.

“It has just been exploding ever since,” Dreiblatt said. “So I’m really happy. It’s been helping a lot of people and people have actually been getting back. I love this community for helping out.”

Taylor Mervis, a waitress at the pizzeria, said the family’s plan shows how their hearts are in the right spot. Not only are people being fed, she added, but customers are also eager to give.

“I do see that it’s going to the right people and people are really, really grateful for it,” she said.

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