While West Bengal is on the eve of shutdown to slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus, Darjeeling’s iconic Glenary’s Bakery and Restaurant today handed out free bread and bakery items to kids before the lockdown, and has promised to continue to supply food to charitable organisations in the shutdown weeks ahead.
Located at Nehru Road near the Chowrasta, run by the Edwards family, Glenary’s has stood for over a century, and it’s the oldest and best loved hang out spot in the hill station.
Last week, Glenary’s announced that they had decided to close the dine-in facility but would keep the bakery open for takeaway and home delivery. However, as coronavirus cases in West Bengal jumped to seven in a few days, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee enforced a lockdown in the state.
They decided to shut after a lockdown was announced in the state. But before doing so, Ajoy Edwards, the current owner, announced that their bakery was open and residents could drop by to collect freshly baked items for no charge till stocks ran out.
Glenary’s, opened in the 1020s and is currently being run by Edwards, whose grandfather took over the restaurant around 1955 , said that when they saw the overwhelming response, they decided to give away even the chocolates that they had in stock.
” When we ran out of fresh baked goods but kids kept coming, I decided to give out our chocolates too. I think I gave away 30 or 40 kgs of chocolates we had in store,” he said.
The bakery has announced that it will remain shut from tomorrow ( Tuesday) but will continue to distribute fresh items to those in need.
“Everything is free, we will not be charging for anything. This is our small effort to help our community. Keep a safe distance when you come to the bakery,” said a post on their official Facebook page.
Hoping everyone stays safe and healthy in these trying time, the post added, “Together, we will overcome this unprecedented times and emerge stronger.”
“Glenarys will be closed from tomorrow but we will be distributing breads to the daily wage workers, charity homes, Kripa and to the people who needs support during this pandemic,” the eatery said in another post.
“We realised a lot of people are trying to get some breads and fresh goods, especially the poor. While there have been reports of surge prices, we thought we should give everything we have for free. It’s our way to giving back to the country in times like these,” the restaurant’s owner Ajoy Edwards told a newspaper.
As a local put it, “This is the true Christian spirit of business ownership. for over 50 years Glenary’s has been donating bread daily to Mother Teresa’s nuns, ever since they came to Darjeeling. They have also been donating food to the de-addiction organisation Kripa, about 10 years now. More than that Glenary’s is giving their staff full salaries throughout the shutdown.”
In order to ensure that the offer of free bread doesn’t draw crowds, Glenary’s will hand out loaves of bread through charitable institutions and NGOs, which can deliver them to the needy at their homes.