The owner of a popular Glasgow restaurant who has dished out close to 1,000 meals to the city’s homeless in just three months is calling on other businesses to follow suit.

Muhammad Sultan, who runs Charcoals Indian restaurant in Renfield Street, started the initiative in the first week of August after becoming increasingly concerned with the rising number of rough sleepers in and around Glasgow.

As reported by the Evening Times then, Mr Sultan is continuing to invite the city’s homeless community to his restaurant every Monday and Tuesday afternoon where they are given homemade food packages.

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However, the 39-year-old knows much more has to be done and is urging other businesses to come together to end hunger for good in the city centre.

Mr Sultan’s impassioned plea comes just two days after he was recognised for outstanding achievement at the Asian Curry Awards, a glittering ceremony held in the swanky Mayfair area of London.

Evening Times:
Mr Sultan with his award at Charcoals (Credit: Mark Gibson/Herald & Times)

Shying away from speaking about the award, Mr Sultan, who lives in Clydebank, told the Evening Times: “Just to be recognised was appreciated. But, I don’t need fame. I just want to help set an example for others that they, too, can do the same.

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“I want to see other restaurants in Glasgow come together to help out. It would be enough even to have a handful. We could all take a couple of days a week each in which to give food out to those who need it the most. There’s so much food wastage out there. It would be enough.

“That initial step is all it takes, but more need to come together. There has been some keen interest from nearby venues, but that want to help needs to come from the heart.”

Evening Times:
Rough sleepers are a frequent sight in Glasgow with this one, pictured, just yards from Charcoals

He explained how he has always supported charity work for most of his life and decided to take the leap and start his own in native Pakistan last year.

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Then, in May, the restaurateur used his personal savings to travel to his family’s home city of Lahore to feed and clothe hundreds of people in need during the holy month of Ramadan.

In the last month, along with help from family and friends, he has helped to feed and clothe close to 700 families.

Evening Times:
Mr Sultan with some of the children he has helped to feed in his family's home city in Pakistan

The idea for the project in Glasgow came to him after passing by the homeless in the city.

He said: “They sometimes spend the whole day and night in the cold and rain and it made me think just how much we take for granted.

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“They come into my restaurant and me and my staff sit with them. We hear their stories.

“There has been talk that the people who come may not be homeless, but if someone needs food, they need it. Why else would they come?

“I might not be able to give them shelter, but I can give them food. No-one should ever go hungry.”

Mr Sultan highlighted plans to do even more for Glasgow’s homeless in what is thought to be a Scotland-first.

He wants to be able to expand the food initiative so that it will be offered seven days a week.

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He said: “We don’t just eat for two days a week, do we? We eat for seven. Everyone should have that, no matter what the circumstance.”

Mr Sultan is currently on the lookout for a bigger kitchen which would allow him to offer food all week round and hopes he will be able to do so by the end of January. “If not, he said,” “I’ll equip my own kitchen at home where my family will help me to make as much food as possible.

Evening Times:
The initiative at Charcoals (Credit: Mark Gibson/Herald & Times)

“My family, friends and colleagues already do so much in the way of moral support, money, and manpower.”

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Mr Sultan is currently providing homemade food parcels every Thursday to H4th Help for the homeless, a non-profit independent group based in the city’s Cadogan Street.

He is also giving food parcels to the Lodging House Mission, a charity in East Campbell Street, every Tuesday.

Usually closed on Christmas Day, Mr Sultan has insisted both he and his staff will be on standby.

“Until I am able to provide all week round, I am here. Charcoals will always be open to those who need it most.”