Serving up slices to those in need
WHEN Juliette Kabalan saw a Facebook post from a business offering free food to people under financial stress during lockdown, she was compelled to share her own offer with her customers at Luchiano’s Pizza.
Her post has reached 6000 people since being shared last Monday, and Ms Kabalan said she wanted to give back to a community that has supported her business since the pandemic began.
“I’ve always wanted to put something together and let the community know that I’m there to help,” she said.
“Anybody that’s needing food, that’s lost their job and can’t put food on the table for their family, I’d like to help with that by giving them the opportunity to come in and grab some pizzas on us.”
“With the first couple of lockdowns when restaurants closed our business did succeed and become a bit bigger.
“Because people didn’t have the option to go to a pub or restaurant and sit down for a nice meal they reverted to take away.
“Our community was fantastic. We had people coming in and asking us if we were okay saying ‘we don’t want to see Luchiano’s go so if we need to buy vouchers we’re happy to do that’.
“We had schools that we had sponsored in the past come in and actually buy vouchers for their teachers because they said that we had sponsored them in the past and supported them, so they wanted to bring the support back during COVID.
“When things like that happen it’s only fair that we show the support back [to customers],” Ms Kabalan said.
The business was started by Ms Kabalan’s husband and his two brothers over 10 years ago, and she attributes its success to her family-oriented upbringing.
“I think it’s because I did grow up in a big family and just knowing the value of people and what they bring to your business is what has made us successful,” she said.
“The community in Bendigo showed us that we’re valuable to them, and they’re valuable to us because we couldn’t keep going without them.”
Ms Kabalan said the free food offer didn’t end with the circuit breaker lockdown, and is available from the restaurant at 214 McCrae Street, Bendigo.