The food is put in a fridge outside the shop every day for people to help themselves. / sur

Kind-hearted business offers free food to people who are struggling: "if you need it, take it"

Patxi Ramón and his wife Cristina, who run a roast chicken shop, were horrified when someone they knew came to them in tears because he had no money to buy food, and decided to do what they could to help those in need

ALMUDENA NOGUÉS Malaga

With so much bad news around, it is good to come across a heartwarming story, such as the owners of a roast chicken business in Huércal, Almeria, who decided to offer free food to people who need it. The generosity of Patxi Ramón, the owner of the business, and his wife Cristina has gone viral on social media because, sadly, it is unusual at a time when thousands of families don’t have enough money to get through the month and are having nightmares because of inflation.

Every day, the couple put some roast chicken and stews in a fridge outside their shop with a notice saying “If you need it, take it, and enjoy. Be responsible – if you don’t need it, leave it for people who do. Thank you!”.

They decided to do this because of the number of people who asked them if they could help, because they were in such difficult circumstances. First, Patxi and Cristina offered a menu for five euros, but then someone they knew, a builder, came to them in tears and begged for some food because he had no money whatsoever to buy any. The couple were so horrified at his plight that they sat him down at a table and cooked him a meal.

Donations from local people

At first, they would give away between eight and 12 roast chickens a day. “It’s a small business, so we gave what we could,” they said. However, other people in the village who had seen what they were doing on social media decided to collaborate by donating money, so there is now more food for the needy in the fridge. “If we can, we will carry on doing this forever. As long as we possibly can, we will,” they say.

At the end of last year a report from Cáritas and the Foessa Foundation warned that the pandemic had been “devastating” for Spanish society, with 11 million people in social exclusion and six million of them in a situation of extreme poverty.