The owner of a Subway restaurant northeast of Edmonton wants to make sure no one feels alone over the holidays, so he’s opening up his restaurant on Christmas Day and offering free food to anyone who wants to stop by.
Parminder Sandhu owns the Subway in Fort Saskatchewan, located at 101 Street and 88 Avenue. On Christmas Day, the sandwich restaurant will be open from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sandhu said it’s all about giving back to the community.
“Basically we’re asking people to come out and spend some time,” he said Friday.
“Christmas can be a very lonely season if you don’t have any family. We are saying, ‘You’re not alone. We are family. Come celebrate with us. Come for a free hug and free cookie.’ We make the best cookies.”
After posting a sign on the restaurant storefront letting people know about the event, someone took a picture and posted it to social media. Sandhu said since then, he’s received messages and phone calls from people across North America, inspired by his kindness.
“It went wild. We appreciate it too because it spreads a lot more positivity and a lot more love,” he said. “I read some of the posts on social media and it made me feel good too.
“I would love to see other people follow suit, other businesses start doing the same thing.”
Tradition of giving to those in need
This is the second year Sandhu is opening up his location on Christmas Day. He decided to do it after a man came into the restaurant two years ago and said he didn’t have anywhere to go for Christmas.
“It kind of struck me. And I thought from next year on, we’re going to start opening the restaurant on Christmas Day and anybody who is lonely can come celebrate with us and have a good time.”
Sandhu said about 50 people showed up last year.
“Many people just sat here and spent their time with us. The whole family worked and it was a great time.”
For the past seven years, Sandhu has also provided free meals to those experiencing homelessness in the community. Every day from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m., people are welcome to come in for a free six-inch sub. He said it usually amounts to about 10 to 12 meals per week, but he’s happy to do it.
“This is the time we needed to do this. Starting from last year — last year was really rough for some Albertans — and this year it’s starting to get a little better, but we’re hoping for better economic times.
“But it did make a lot of difference and that is what we’re trying to do.”