FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - When the coronavirus pandemic forced one business owner to close his doors, he decided to turn to his second passion: serving the community.
The giant pans of rice and big pots of chicken are not a typical Sunday dinner for Nicholas Khodr and his family.
“We’re doing rice with pulled chicken and sauteed peppers and onions,” said Khodr.
Khodr and his family won’t be eating any of the feasts they have prepared. Instead, they’re giving it away.
“Our end goal is to give a million meals per year,” said Kohdr.
Although Khodr enjoys cooking, he is not typically found in the kitchen at his home, but welcoming patrons at one of his nightclubs in Hollywood.
The coronavirus pandemic, however, forced him to shut his doors.
“It’s been a struggle, but, you know, we’re getting through it,” he said.
Being out of business for weeks left him without much going on, until he received a call from his friend Jamil Hindi in April.
“I pass by Broward every day, and there’s just so many homeless people out there,” said Hindi. “I called Nick, because he has experience in the restaurant industry, so I said, ‘Look, I have this idea.'”
Hindi and Khodr cooked up the idea to feed 150 people every Sunday in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Hindi provided the funding, and Khodr provided the equipment along with his cooking skills.
Together, the duo asked their family and friends to help.
“Nick said, ‘Hey, I have a friend that does shirts,’ so we started to give out shirts,” said Hindi, “I have connections in China where I can get face masks for cheap, so we said, ‘Let’s just keep it going.'”
The project has done more than just provide hot meals to the homeless. It has also given Khodr’s mother a new way to care for others after being furloughed from her job as a healthcare worker.
“It takes my mind off of things, and we start planning our menus on Wednesdays and try to do everything ahead of time,” said Stephanie Smith.
The project takes a lot of planning and hours of cooking.
“Thirty-five pounds of rice and 28 pounds of chicken,” said Smith.
“It’s a lot of fun and, you know, we start around 12 p.m. or 1 p.m., usually done by about 6 p.m.,” said Khodr.
When the food is ready, they pack it all up and head to Stranahan Park where a group quickly gathers.
“The people really love it,” said Khodr. “They really look forward to it every single Sunday.”
Hindi said even after both their businesses finally reopen, the two men plan to continue feeding the homeless. They also hope to create their own charity and expand their efforts to other communities across South Florida.
“If we’re fortunate enough to do it, we have to do it, and that’s our responsibility,” said Hindi.
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