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Customers Buy Food for Homeless at Canadian Burger Joint

Lifestyle | By  | 
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thestar.com

People in the Canadian city of Oshawa are doing their part to help feed the homeless and less fortunate in their fair city, and their favorite burger joint is helping them do it.

Justice Burger, a popular restaurant in downtown Oshawa, has started a “giveback” campaign that allows customers to buy burgers for those in need.

Customers simply pay the cashier $5 and a coupon is pinned to a board near the cash register. A person in need of a meal can then come into the restaurant, take the coupon down, and get a free burger.

“We are doing something that allows everyone to be involved,” explains Justice Burger co-owner Trevor Algar. “You can come in with five bucks and feed someone else.”

It’s been two months since the restaurant started the program, and Algar says more than 500 burgers have been given to the needy.

“It’s not just rich people who are doing this,” Algar says. “It’s students, it’s other homeless, buying for those even less fortunate.”

Those who don’t live in Oshawa can contribute to the campaign on Justice Burger’s website.

There has already been a moment that has let Algar know that people have embraced the campaign. It happened a couple weeks ago when a customer handed him an envelope that contained a letter and $500 in cash.

The man had been in the restaurant earlier that day and learned about the “giveback” campaign. He returned later with enough money to pay for 100 burgers and a letter detailing his experiences being homeless and hungry.

“I would have to beg for money to buy a burger from McDonald’s every day and it was humiliating for me, but my pride was not worth the hunger pains,” the letter stated.

There were already 60 coupons on the board when the anonymous donor added 100 to that total. “We’re going to go out and get a bigger board,” says Algar.

Algar says other business owners told him that people would take advantage of the program, but other than a lawyer who forgot his wallet, Algar says only people who are truly hungry and desperate for a meal have used the coupons.

“I would say generally anyone asking for anything is putting their heart on their sleeve and hoping for a good reception,” Algar says. “Having to do that for every meal — I can’t imagine what that is like.”