It may be the holiday season, but the spirit of giving is year-round for Randy and Anita Madahar at Kuku’s.
Every Wednesday and Sunday, the delivery and takeout restaurant brings piping hot food such as butter chicken, lasagna and shepherd’s pie to the homeless in Victoria. The husband-and-wife team started feeding the needy after friends of his from the Soprano’s Karaoke Sports Bar and Grill began cooking food for the homeless.
“Five years ago, my friend Kenton, he started doing chilis every Wednesday and Sunday,” said Randy. “Then two years ago, when they shut the doors, that’s when he approached me and asked me if we wanted to do it.
“At 7 o’clock, the volunteers show up, we fill up the van and we send them out. It doesn’t matter what kind of weather it is, they stand out there because they know at 7:30, something is going to show up at that street.”
Randy said usually 40 or 50 people turn out at the corner of Balmoral and Cook, as well as at Meares and Quadra by Pioneer Square, for food from Kuku’s.
Additionally, the Madahars and their crew of volunteers hold events around holidays throughout the year to give to the homeless. On Dec. 13, they catered a Christmas turkey and ham dinner for the homeless at the Burnside Community Hall, where they also handed out clothing and gift bags.
“They had toothbrushes, Colgate, mouthwash, socks, gloves, flashlights, granola bars, Rice Krispie squares, coffee mugs,” said Anita, noting many of the items were donated by neighbouring businesses such as Home Hardware, Budget Rent-A-Car and Bluebird Cabs.
“Lots of the community came to help us out,” said Randy. “We had a poster up here and our customers were awesome – they were donating money all the time.”
So what compels the Madahars to donate their time, energy and food twice a week? To them, giving just comes naturally.
“We just like to give to the unfortunate, and it feels pretty nice to do that,” said Randy.
“It’s a good energy, to do this. It feels really good to give,” said Anita, adding that others have seen their volunteer work and want to help out. “We’ve had some families come in who want to go there and hand out the food themselves.”
Randy and Anita said they are always open to more volunteers joining them, as well as any donations from the community to help the homeless.
“It could be anything, it doesn’t have to be money,” said Randy. “Clothing, blankets, tents, tarps – anything that these guys can use throughout the year.”