For close to two years now a local restaurant has been cooking up free meals for the public.

Cochrane's Mehtab East Indian Cuisine started offering free boxed meals to local residents back in March of 2020, at the start of the COVID pandemic.

Owner, Jag Thind says there was an eerie feeling during those early days with so many unknowns and he had a strong desire to do more. He explains that former regulars at his establishment had voiced that they'd love to continue supporting the restaurant, but could no longer afford to. He says that was eye-opening and if those regulars were feeling the pinch he was sure many more in the community were too.

"This is not good, if someone can't afford it, that doesn't mean we can't serve them," says Thind. 

So, in March of 2020 he took to social media to offer free meals to the public --no questions asked.


Thind says much like the ups and downs throughout the course of the pandemic, the need for a free meal has also fluctuated.

"We used to get 20 plus families per week in the start," explains Thind. "Since then it's gone down then come up again. Right now it's about four to five families per week."

The restaurant industry has endured more than its share of ups and downs over the past 22 months, they've been hit with closures, capacity and alcohol restrictions, and at times limited to delivery, curbside or patio dining. Still, Thind says as long as there's a need in the community, his offer stands.

"The kind of response and feedback we get when people come and say thank you -- I don't think we'll ever stop doing this," explains Thind. "I think that's the least we can do, so we'll keep doing it."

Thind reiterates that this offer is out there for anyone in need of a hot meal --no questions asked.