Sometimes the most generous people are next door

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Last week I took a friend for her birthday lunch at a small restaurant with a big reputation. Jason Leizert’s Salted Brick has made a commitment to fresh, local fare from the Okanagan Valley’s farms and artisans. I had heard the food was first rate.

But a few days before that lunch, I learned Salted Brick had already spent a whole year doing something incredibly generous. You see, Salted Brick is in my neighbourhood. My part of Kelowna, B.C. (a small Canadian city on Lake Okanagan) is drop-dead gorgeous. It is also home to a growing number of homeless people.

Liezert’s stomach got a healthy filling each day. His heart didn’t, not when he saw so many hungry people on the streets where his small restaurant attracts a regular clientele. So he started the Bag Lunch Program. With the help of some corporate sponsors and other donors, he started making dozens of sandwiches each Monday morning. Alongside them he popped apples, juice, fruit and a baked goodie. A friendly smile accompanied each bag, as it passed into the hands of a grateful recipient.

The demand has not slowed down. So now Leizert has launched a Go Fund Me campaign so he can buy a food bike or food cart, along with more supplies. He plans to launch a program that lets visitors to the restaurant, or to the food cart, buy tokens. They can give the tokens to homeless folk or use them to buy a bag lunch for Salted Brick to distribute.

As for that birthday lunch, it tasted all the better after I learned about the restaurant’s generosity.

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