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Darjeeling’s iconic Glenary’s hands out food for free ahead of Covid-19 lockdown

The eatery announced that it would hand out all its baked goods for free till stocks last. However, despite the shutdown it will continue to bake bread to supply to charitable organisations.

Written by Shreya Das | Kolkata | Updated: March 23, 2020 9:39:43 pm
glenary's glenary darjeeling, darjeeling bakery give free food, glenery free food covid 19, coronavirus, coronavirus india, coronavirus west bengal, good news, viral news, indian express After they ran out of freshly baked items, the owner decided to donate all store chocolates too to kids who turned up. (Source: Glenary’s/ Facebook)

Bars and restaurants across West Bengal may have been shut to slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus, but one iconic bakery in Darjeeling is being hailed for handing out food and chocolates before the lockdown.  Glenary’s Bakery and Restaurant has also promised to continue to supply food to charitable organisations even in the coming days.

The restaurant, which is among the best known in Darjeeling, decided to shut after a lockdown was announced in the state. But before doing so, the over 100-year-old eatery announced that their bakery was open and residents could drop by to collect freshly baked items for no charge till stocks ran out.

“Everything is free, we will not be charging for anything. This is our small effort to help our community. Keep a safe distance when you come to the bakery,” said a post on their official Facebook page.

Hoping everyone stays safe and healthy in these trying time, the post added, “Together, we will overcome this unprecedented times and emerge stronger.”

Read their full post here:

Last week, the eatery announced that they had decided to close the dine-in facility but would keep the bakery open for takeaway and home delivery. However, as coronavirus cases in West Bengal jumped to 7 in a few days, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee enforced a lockdown in the state.

The bakery has announced that it will remain shut from Tuesday but will continue to distribute fresh items to those in need.

“Glenarys will be closed from tomorrow but we will be distributing breads to the daily wage workers, charity homes, Kripa and to the people who needs support during this pandemic,” the eatery said in another post.

“We realised a lot of people are trying to get some breads and fresh goods, especially the poor. While there have been reports of surge prices, we thought we should give everything we have for free. It’s our way to giving back to the country in times like these,”  the restaurant’s owner Ajoy Edwards told in a telephonic interview.

Edwards, who is the third-generation owner of the restaurant, said that when they saw the overwhelming response, they decided to give away even the chocolates that they had in stock.

“When we ran out of fresh baked goods but kids kept coming, I decided to give out our chocolates too. I think I gave away 30 or 40 kgs of chocolates we had in store,” he said.

Run by the Edwards family for last 65 years, the eatery has been donating freshly-baked bread to charities for years.

“For last 55 years, we have been giving breads to the Missionaries of Charity, ever since they started their operations in Darjeeling. Now, of all times, we just can’t stop that. Similarly, with de-addiction organisation Kripa, we have been donating for the last 10 years,” Edwards said.

The eatery’s owner said that they have about 150 bags of flour in their godown at the moment and they will bake in small batches to donate.  “Apart from our regular charities, we will also donate to orphanages, hospitals,” he said.

In order to ensure that the offer of free bread doesn’t draw crowds, Edwards said they will hand out loaves of bread through charitable institutions and NGOs, which can deliver them to the needy at their homes.

Edwards also said he had requested other eateries to also explore the possibility of donating food to those in need.

The two posts by the eatery were widely shared on social media. Many thanked the eatery and appreciated their decision to help those in need.

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