A free meal and a friendly smile aren't easy to come by. But a pair of Muslim immigrants changed that for some in Montreal with a sign in their restaurant window.
Motivated by their own experiences with hunger in Iraq and Iran, they offer a free meal to anyone in their adopted community who needs it -- no questions asked.
"We went through this," said Ali Amiry, 51, who left Iraq in 1992, fleeing the regime of Saddam Hussein and crippling sanctions. "We know what it means to be hungry."
'I was looking for a job'
Amiry and Yahya Hashemi, 58, who fled war in Iran in 1987, opened a Middle Eastern restaurant and grocery store called Marche Ferdous in a bustling part of downtown Montreal near Concordia University.
"There are many homeless people in this area," Amiry told CNN. "Sometimes they (come in and) ask for money, and we ask them 'Why?' They say for food."
So, three years ago, the pair decided to provide.
"It is something personal to me and my partner," Amiry said. "First of all, we believe in charity, in donation, and sharing things. And also, we notice there is need for this because there are many homeless people."
While Amiry and Hashemi ask for nothing in return, some of those who benefit most refuse to take a handout.
An Egyptian immigrant came in this week to get food but didn't want to take it for free. Amiry and Hashemi needed a cook, so they hired him.
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