Indian Mehfil is again opening their doors to the needy on Christmas Day. Chef Rana, chef Pitamber Dutt, Jason Singh and owner Raj Sharma.
Indian Mehfil is again opening their doors to the needy on Christmas Day. Chef Rana, chef Pitamber Dutt, Jason Singh and owner Raj Sharma.

Restaurant serving free meals on Christmas Day

AS families rip open presents and tuck into a lavish lunch on Christmas Day, the isolated members of our society are pushed further out of mind.

An Ipswich business will offer a haven for those without the support of family or friends.

Indian Mehfil restaurant will open its doors once again on Christmas Day, offering free meals for isolated or disadvantaged individuals.

Owner Raj Sharma said the initiative had become a part of his family's Christmas routine for six years.

In the past, Mr Sharma and wife Priyanka closed the restaurant and invited staff and their families to their home to cook for them.

"Christmas wasn't the thing for us (growing up in India)," he said.

"When we came here we used to have Christmas with our staff all together. Most of my family is either back home or in a different part of the world.

"At the end of the day this community is my family. Our staff is our family, and the Ipswich community is our extended family. So why not do the same thing?"

Mr Sharma said he had been heartened by the number of people who came in on the day in past years to help serve and clean up.

People can dine-in or pick up a take away order with no questions asked.

More than 300 meals have been served on the day in past years.

"We sit down with them and share a laugh and their story," he said.

"A lot of older people come from nursing homes who don't have a family.

"In a way it's a sad part of society we get to see on that day.

"As a society we tend to forget, we only see one part. We felt there is a need and we need to play that part."

Indian Mehfil is located at 116 Brisbane St. It will open from noon until 2pm on Christmas Day. Call 3281 8683 for more information.

"A lot of people are doing it tough," he said.

"We must show people compassion, that's when we bring out the best in ourselves - when we can give back to others."



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