More than a year after landing in a new country and working to adjust and settle in, AbdulKadir Casim is hoping to share the same giving spirit that brought him and his family to Canada as refugees to those who might not know where their next meal will come from.
Casim runs Alladin, a Syrian food restaurant in Pictou where he shares his culture through cooking with his wife Lema.
Recently Casim, who regularly posts on his business Facebook page, made a post encouraging anyone who may be hungry or not have money to buy food to stop by his restaurant and he would make sure they are fed.
“Last year my son saw a woman in a wheelchair and he asked for food for free for her,” said Casim, through a translator. Casim noted that his son Omer has asked him to give food to people at no charge on a number of occasions if they appear hurt or that they might not be able to pay. After having experienced a period himself where he had to go without money and found himself hungry, Casim understood deeply the effect it can have on someone.
“The most important thing is that I am cooking and sharing my culture,” Casim shared through the translator. Being able to share his culture like this gives him the push to make his food look and taste better so he can share it with all of Pictou County and Canada.
Casim added that those who are hungry and don’t have the money to get food can come and receive food from him with no judgment. He encourages anyone who is looking to do this to come and order food. Each of his customers pays after they get their food, so if someone is hungry with no way to pay for the food they order, they can eat and simply leave, no explanation needed and Casim will understand.
He added that he uses this method because people will not feel shy or embarrassed about not having the money if they had to pay when they ordered.
Casim says this is something he continued when he moved to Canada as he would often help people in need in Syria as well. After arriving in Pictou, groups like Cairn, Advocate and Shiretown Dental staff really showed him how important it is to support others not just with money but with feelings as well. These are things he is hoping to pass on to his three children through teaching by example. After he opened his restaurant, Casim shared that he had offers for him to relocate to Halifax and Quebec and open there but Pictou is where he feels loved and supported and where he wants to stay.
“That’s what he learned from Pictou people, is to help and support,” the translator shared.
Far right, AbdulKadir Casim stands with Asia, Omer, Lema and Sara in front of their restaurant in Pictou. The Syrian refugee recently extended an offer on Facebook to those who might not have money for food to eat free of charge at his restaurant. (Brimicombe photo)