A side of generosity: N.B. restaurant serves homeless for free

A Syrian-Canadian restaurateur is taking two hours every day to serve up some compassion in Moncton, N.B.

Elian Elias’s pizza and Middle Eastern fare is on the house for anyone without a home if they drop by Mama’s Restaurant at the right time. It’s a gesture he said was inspired by his experience in the city’s downtown.

“I’ve seen too many sad stories,” Elias told CTV Atlantic on Sunday. “I see a lot of homelessness.”

Elias, now a Canadian citizen, said he fell in love with Moncton when he left Syria eight years ago to live in the city with his brother-in-law. He’s opened three businesses in the area so far. He’s also developed a passion for helping those less fortunate.

Elias said he typically gets between eight and 14 customers in need per day. They’re free to order anything off the menu without charge. A hot meal, he explains, is a fitting offer for a community that offered him a warm welcome.

“I wish I could give them more than that. I support them as much as I can,” Elias said. “I want everyone to feel like we’re trying our best to support the community.”

With a report from CTV Atlantic’s Jonathan MacInnis