Restaurateur gives back

Community Featured

PICTOU — It was especially chaotic — and enjoyable — in the lunch room on Monday at McCulloch Education Centre.

Charles Quintanilla owner/operator of East Avenue restaurant in New Glasgow, brought several staff members with him to serve a special lunch for students and staff. The students dined on spaghetti and meatballs while staff were served chicken, fish and vegetables.

Quinanilla and his staff prepared the meals Monday morning prior to arriving at the school before noon to serve students in time slots the students have for eating lunch.

About 100 students and 30 staff took advantage of the opportunity to purchase the meals. The proceeds will go to the school.

“The meatballs are especially different,” Jami McDowell said. “They’re really good.”

Fellow student Trent MacGregor shared a thumb’s up and pronounced the meal “delicious.”

Quintanilla timed the gesture to correspond with an impending ceremony this weekend when he, his wife and their teenaged daughter will take an oath of citizenship to become Canadian citizens. They are from the Philippines. A younger son attends McCulloch school and is Canadian by birth.

“That’s why we did this,” he said.

He said his time since moving to Pictou County and operating restaurants in Pictou and New Glasgow has been rewarding and he wanted to give back to the school for its support.

“I like to do this, now that I have my own restaurant,” he said. “I love kids, and this school does so much to help my family. They’re great people — the principal and teachers are very helpful for my son.”

Principal Frank McNeill said Quintanilla approached him last fall about doing something for the students this winter.

“This is something a bit special,” McNeill said. “He approached us that he’d like to do something for the students and staff, with the proceeds going to the school. I think it’s a wonderful thing to have someone in the community involved in our school.”

Charles Quintanilla serves lunch at McCulloch Education Centre. (Goodwin photo)