Rita Rojan puts the final touches on hot cross buns that were be distributed to needy persons yesterday.

Conscious of the social crisis in the country due to COVID-19 restrictions, a bakery owner has turned his ovens back on to produce bread for the needy— free of charge.

He embarked on the first day of his initiative on Good Friday.

Baker Narandradath Jaikaran, the owner of Classic Bakes Bakery, donated 1,100 hops to non-governmental organisations to distribute to the people experiencing financial hardship.

In keeping with Good Friday traditions, he also baked 100 hot cross buns and even gave a few to the police.

While the response to this has been overwhelming, Jaikaran said, for now, he would only be baking on a Friday. He is hoping that the corporate community will come on board so he could increase his production and help more families.

Even before the Government had initiated the Stay-at-Home regulations, Jaikaran had closed his business as a precautionary measure.

He decided to launch this initiative after his eldest son, who resides in Canada, told him about a similar venture being done by bakery owners in that country.

“We have been closed since March 26. I spoke to the family, my other son, and wife, I spoke to my employees and we all came together with the understanding that we should do this, it is a great initiative. I support it because I love to give and when you give, especially when you give from your heart to persons in need it really feels good and it is a good thing for people.”

Using social media platforms and WhatsApp, he advertised the initiative and invited his contacts, NGOs and other groups to contact him. Since then, he said, he has been flooded with calls and messages from churches, MPS, various homes, even individuals, including Venezuelans.

He admitted that this venture will be costly, especially since his business is closed.

However, he is hoping that the corporate community comes on board.

“My son created a website classicbakes.com, if people want to join us, we can extend the spread, plus we think we will like to add food hampers. People are in need out there, people are hungry, people are calling me, people are crying, people can’t pay rent, they got three kids, husband not working and it is very sad to sit down and when you eat you realise there are people out there hungry, can I not share something with them please.”

He said people have supported his business for 20 years and he saw it fit to give back. “And we are not focusing only in this community, we invited Trinidad and Tobago. Once you can make arrangements to collect the bread find us.”

Step Up and Reach Out, a charity group operated by Kenneth Nowelling and his wife, Janice, was one of the organisations which collected bread.

Nowelling praised Jaikaran for this initiative and called on other business people to follow in his footsteps. They will be distributing the bread to needy persons in the Claxton Bay community.