Benton Evening News - Benton, IL
  • This Muslim restaurant wants to make sure ‘no one eats alone' on Christmas

  • As The Independent reported, the Shish Restaurant will offer food to the homeless with the slogan, “no one eats alone.”

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A Muslim-owned restaurant in London hopes no one has to eat alone when Christmas comes to town.

As The Independent reported, Shish Restaurant will offer food to the homeless. With the slogan “no one eats alone," the restaurant has asked local residents to spread the message throughout their communities, as well as put up posters that use the phrase “We are here to sit with you."

The meals will have three courses and will be served from noon to 6 p.m. on Christmas.

The restaurant will serve soup, Cacik (a dipping sauce popular in the Middle East), and the choice of a chicken or vegetable casserole or a chicken shish (grilled chicken). Rice pudding will be served as dessert, according to The Independent.

Upon hearing the news, social media users shared excitement over the restaurant's decision to help the homeless and elderly.

But the Shish restaurant isn't the only charitable group helping people spend time with others this holiday season. As The Telegraph reported, entrepreneur Peter Shankman wants to help people go home for Christmas by sharing his own air miles with strangers he meets online.

Shankman, who said he flew more than 350,000 miles in 2016 for work, has offered his miles to people he's met on Imgur, who have shared their stories about going home for Christmas, The Telegraph reported.

“This year, I flew more than I ever have before, and am probably going to close the year out with about 350,000 actual flown miles. For comparison, the moon is 238,000 miles away,” he wrote.

Shankman will easily find people to help. In 2015, a survey found that 84 percent of Americans planned to travel home for the holidays, with more than half of those travelers using more than 250 miles of airfare to complete their journey.

Indeed, spending time with family or just people in general around the holidays is beneficial. As our own Jennifer Graham reported this week, we all need a little Christmas.

Christmas, especially when we spend it with our family, allows us to reinforce our social ties, which improves our blood pressure and our life span. Good relationships with siblings and other family members can also improve our health.

“The cool thing about Christmas is it's fixed on the calendar, you can't postpone it,” Fred Bryant, a psychology professor at Loyola University in Chicago, told the Deseret News. “We set aside time from our normal, everyday life to spend with our family and experience a very different way of living. It feeds our souls much more than going to work. And it really strengthens our bonds with our loved ones."

Christmas, unlike any other day of the year, gives people a chance to settle down and relax, freeing us from the dire news of the world, experts told Graham.

The Rev. Susan Sparks, pastor of Madison Avenue Baptist Church in New York City, told her that Christmas can offer hope.

"For 364 days of the year, we are bombarded by news of the inhumanity of the world: the violence, racism, hatred and callous disregard. On this one day, we are reminded that in addition to the inhumanity, we as a people carry a spark of hope and joy," she said. "These are gifts bestowed at birth, but often forgotten as life attempts to beat them out of us. Like the balsam tree needles we find six months later behind the couch, Christmas drops a hint of hope on our hearts — a hint that is hard to brush away."
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