Restaurant owner gives back to the community

READING, Pa. - November 9, 2010

Steve Elmarzouky shut down his Queen City Family Restaurant to the general public Tuesday just to serve free meals to the homeless and underprivileged of Reading and surrounding areas.

"It was always a dream of mine to try and give back to the community that helped me to be the way I am," Elmarzouky said.

All day long, volunteers bussed in the needy from shelters and senior centers while more volunteers cooked and served countless turkey dinners.

Steve says the most challenging part was organizing all of the charity groups who wanted to get involved including the United Way.

"This is what community is all about, we try to look at what the needs are in the community and how best to meet those needs and Steve has always been a generous man," Sharon Mast of the United Way said.

But the meal was just the beginning. Afterwards, everyone was brought out to a tent set up in the parking lot where each person was given free clothing, toys for their children, and other gifts.

Steve says every smiling face reminds him of his impoverished upbringing in Egypt and it motivates him to make this an annual tradition.

"I love to see the people's smiles and I love to just have them grab my hand and say 'Thank you.' That's why I'm doing this," Elmarzouky said.

The estimated 1,400 people who came through the doors today are glad he did.

"You have such kind people here; they're just so nice and kindhearted to everybody and they like to make conversation," Sarah James of Reading said.

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