Easton Restaurant Works To Feed Neighbors In Need
Writer| Brian Buchowski
When COVID-19 restrictions forced Lehigh Valley businesses to close, Easton restaurateur Jasmeet Bansal saw an opportunity to give back to his community.
Bansal is the co-owner and manager of Aman's Artisan Indian Cuisine in downtown Easton.
His family opened the restaurant in November 2019 and faced challenges in their first year far beyond anything they'd anticipated.
"It was scary," says Bansal. "We heard reports of India's ports shutting down, and we had to stockpile thousands of dollars worth of spices in case we weren't able to import them."
The Bansal family soon realized that shortages were affecting people closer to home, as well.
After hearing reports of Easton residents going hungry, Bansal and his siblings set up a free pantry inside their restaurant, where they allowed those in need to collect staple groceries.
The restaurant also partnered with local organizations like the Second Harvest Food Bank to provide hundreds of hot meals for hungry families.
When asked about the family's generosity, Bansal is quick to credit their Sikh faith. Sikhs, according to Bansal, hold charity and community as core values.
"Not helping when we have the ability to make a difference would be unthinkable," he says.
The Bansals also have another motivation. Bansal and his siblings experienced food insecurity during their childhood in Kenya.
"I clearly remember seeing my parents feed me and my siblings and have very little for themselves," he says. "No parent should have to make that choice."
Today, the Bansals are grateful to have been welcomed into the Lehigh Valley community during a challenging time for restaurants. Bansal plans to expand Aman's community outreach programs, and to work with local organizations to ensure nobody goes without food.
"There's a whole world of poverty and need, right below the surface," he says. "When you're happy and thriving, that's easy to forget."