Soul Provisions Toronto

People come out to support injured owner of restaurant that helps the needy

The owner and full-time employee of a restaurant that gives soup to the needy are both hurt and mostly unable to work, but most people didn't even know until a fellow business owner showed up as a customer, prompting an adorable social media post.

Soul Provisions owner Sara Schwartz Geller posted about another business owner who came in to make purchases less than 12 hours after learning about both her and one of her full-time employee's injuries, calling him a "mensch" and saying "he gets it."

"He reached out to ask me how he could help after learning of Jewels' bike accident and my foot fracture," reads the social media post, referring to the employee.

"I was honest and said, I just need you to come buy stuff. Expenses go up when both the owner and a full time employee go down at the same time."

The other business owner's name is Richard Lobbenberg, whose Yellow Gazebo isn't far away on St. Clair West.

"On her way home from work, Jewels, a long-time bike commuter, was hit by a car who ran a stop sign," Schwartz Geller tells blogTO. "She is okay, but has been off work for a week recovering."

"She has a concussion and is pretty banged up. My partner Matt and I decided the right thing to do was to give her all the paid time off that she needed."

Schwartz Geller often goes to Yellow Gazebo for acupuncture and chiropractic treatments. She says the first thing he did was offer her treatments on the house.

"I was honest and said that really what I need was for him to come to the shop and buy a hat from our new trucker cap collection," says Schwartz Geller. "I created the caps as a way to generate another line of revenue to help us through this rough time while our in shop customers are down by 80 per cent."

"Not even 12 hours later, there he was, double-masked and deciding which hat would be right for him. 'What products do you need to move, I will buy them,' he said. I literally almost wept."

Soul Provisions deals in soup in the winter and popsicles (and some soups, including cold soups) in the summer, and makes a portion of soup available for the needy for every litre of soup sold. The business has always been open to being contacted by anyone experiencing food insecurity.

Richard's action not only helped out Soul Provisions on its own, it also created a ripple effect, others responding to the post wanting to do the same.

"I'll head over this evening for a few purchases," wrote one commenter on Facebook.

"What a guy! I'm heading to your online shop right now and I'm in a spending mood!" wrote another.

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim


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