One of the oldest Indian restaurants in London is partnering with a charity to provide 10,000 meals to people in need during the month of Ramadan.
The Punjab restaurant in Covent Garden, which was founded in 1946, is teaming up with Penny Appeal to support its Holiday Hunger campaign.
Since lockdown began in March 2020, Punjab's kitchens have remained busy providing over 175,000 meals to those that are homeless, facing hardship or working on the frontline.
Early in the pandemic Amrit Mana, managing director of Punjab, moved into the restaurant to shield his family while carrying out his work and is determined to keep the kitchen open as a community resource.
Now Penny Appeal's team are joining the restaurant volunteer staff to help prepare curries such as channa masala aloo, saag aloo and tarka daal to keep families fed over Ramadan, which began on 12 April. All recipes are designed to contain minimal allergies so they are suitable for as many people as possible.
Charlene Edwards from Penny Appeal, who also volunteers at the restaurant, said: "We normally provide community Iftars around Ramadan, but as we all are very aware, Covid prevents us from doing this, so we have had to be more creative in the way we deliver meals by teaming up with several partners on the ground who deliver door to door or have set up structures where people can pick up their meals with minimal risk."
In November 2020 a GoFundMe page was set up to help the restaurant meet a portion of the costs after it saw an increase in requests for food, which has so far raised over £17,000.
Mana said: "Working with food banks right across London, I have seen first-hand the demand for food by families and children. It's only right during such unprecedented times, [for Punjab restaurant] be involved and alleviate holiday hunger.
"We've not shied away from working with charities representing any faith and [or] none. My faith informs me that we are all one humanity. I wish all those observing a peaceful Eid and thank Penny Appeal for their amazing work. It really is about working together."
Punjab restaurant was founded by Sardar Gurbachan Singh Maan in 1946 and has been based on Neal Street since 1951.