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Restaurant's 'beautiful' gesture for struggling Aussies praised by locals

The owner said she noticed a rise in the number of people who were unable to afford food and wanted to help them.

As cash-strapped Aussies continue making changes to their budget to accommodate the rising cost of living, one restaurant is doing its bit to give back to their "struggling" community, with help from generous locals.

Residents have rallied around Manoosh & Co in Eagle Vale, southwest of Sydney, after noticing a thoughtful gesture on display inside the Middle Eastern restaurant which offers a free meal to customers "in need" paid for by other customers.

Written on a whiteboard perched up against the coffee machine, it says: "Please take one if [you're] in need!! Already paid for from (sic) our beautiful customers". Attached to the board are six receipts with various orders to the value of about $10 or $12, ready for customers to claim.

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The community has rallied around Manoosh & Co in Sydney's southwest over the generous display of support inside the store. Source: Manoosh & Co

'They don't have much spare money'

Owner Aleeya Hamidan — who has four restaurants in total — told Yahoo News Australia that she thought of the kind deed after learning of just how many in the community are struggling to afford food.

"Prices are going up in rent, and there are a lot of large families that live here as well. They don't have much spare money to go out and eat with their kids after school," she said.

Hamidan revealed she was the first to pop an order on the board a few weeks ago to encourage other customers to do the same. "One man came in a few weeks ago and took one of the free meals, but the following week when he did have money, he purchased one for someone else," she explained.

"We just didn't want it to be intimidating for people who can't afford our products," the franchise owner added. "It was just something we started doing for a little but have now continued to do. We've had such amazing feedback on it."

Regular customer 'felt inspired' to give back

Local woman Amanda Mauga said she saw the whiteboard and the dockets after visiting the store on Saturday. The man serving her "offered for me to take one" but she declined insisting she didn't need the help as much as others.

"I felt inspired to help so I paid for a coffee for the next person. Hopefully, it makes them happy," she told Yahoo. "Eagle Vale has a few homeless people living in our community, sometimes they busk in front of the shops for loose change. So it feels good to help in some small way."

Mauga, who has lived in the area for about 15 years, shared the thoughtful gesture on social media in the hope it would "get the word out".

"If you are having a hard time and need a meal or coffee, go down to Manoosh Eagle Vale," she posted in a community Facebook page. "People buy food for people who need it. So if you're in need head down there, I have left you a coffee. Enjoy."

Social media reacts to 'amazing' gesture

The post racked up over a thousand "likes" and comments from people blown away by the generous offer. Many agreed the gesture was "beautiful" and a "great initiative" that other businesses should consider doing as well.

"What a great idea! We need more like this. So many people are struggling, bravo," one said in the comments. "Well done folks... nice there are caring people around," another said. While a third wrote, "What an amazing shop for even doing this".

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