SURREY — Like most restaurant operators, Jas Chhina gets plenty of requests for charity.
"There are so many people asking, and we just can't do them all," admitted Chhina, who runs Charcoal Woodz, located at the Holiday Inn Suites hotel on 64th Avenue in Cloverdale.
Instead, operators of the restaurant have focused their attention on Mealshare, a Vancouver-based non-profit that provides meals to people in need.
The program encourages diners to order a certain dish in order for another to be given to someone who really needs it.
"Each time a Mealshare meal is ordered, that restaurant contributes to our organization financially, so that we can provide a meal locally or internationally," Derek Juno, Mealshare's VP of business development, told the Now.
"Half of our meals stay local and are provided in the city they were purchased in, and the other half go internationally and are provided through our international charity partner, Save The Children."
At Charcoal Woodz, the charity of choice is Breakfast Club of Canada.
"They are our first Surrey restaurant in the program, but we are starting to look for more," noted Juno.
Mealshare recently held a launch event at Craft Beer Market in Vancouver and also celebrated a milestone of 250,000 meals given to the hungry.
The current menu at Charcoal Woodz includes five items with the Mealshare logo, including nachos, the house salad, mushroom ravioli, miso sablefish and New York peppercorn steak.
"When people order one of those, we give dollars to the (Mealshare) program," said Chhina.
"We do notice that with the menu items with the logo next to it, we do probably sell more of those, yes."
The restaurant, located in the space formerly occupied by Rockwells, has put an emphasis on fresh, local food.
"Most of our hotel clients come from the U.S., and they want to order something from here, something new to them," Chhina said.