By Beyza Binnur Donmez
ANKARA (AA) - A Syrian restaurant owner who came to Brazil seven years ago as a refugee has donated hundreds of free meals and said he is planning to continue to do so for weeks in the coronavirus epicenter of Latin America.
According to a local media report on Wednesday, Talal Al-Tinawi and his family already delivered 300 meals late March to the elderly and people with special needs under quarantine in country's biggest city Sao Paulo.
Speaking to the Brazil-Arab News Agency, Al-Tinawi said he wanted to thank the Brazilians for welcoming his family when he arrived nearly seven years ago with his wife and three kids, adding that he understands the situation well based on his experience in war-thorn homeland.
"... in Syria, I had to stay home because of the war. I know how this moment is like, and I know that it is especially hard for an elderly person to stay home -- they need extra help for cooking and buying stuff, so this is a way of helping them stay home and thank Brazilians," he reportedly said.
April donations would be delivered in a 10-km radius from his house in Campo Belo in the South Zone of Sao Paulo, the owner of Talal Culinaria Siria, which is described as a Turkish restaurant on its Facebook page, added.
After his humanitarian move attracted attention of locals, the family started to receive financial support from some Brazilians to help them deliver more meals.
"I provided 300 free lunches, and then I couldn’t give anymore, but now Brazilians are helping, and I will keep delivering them for free. Now that the governor has extended the quarantine until April 22, I will continue donating," Al-Tinawi said.
Having the highest number of coronavirus cases with more than 14,000, Brazil registered nearly 700 fatalities. So far, almost 130 recoveries have been recorded.
Since the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 emerged last December in China's Wuhan city, it has spread to at least 184 countries and regions.
There are more than 1.44 million confirmed cases worldwide, with over 83,400 deaths, and above 308,000 recoveries, according to the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.