Chinese woman offers oodles of free noodles to the needy, but no one seems to want them

Friends and customers gift US$380 to help finance scheme, but just one couple has so far enjoyed a complimentary meal

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 October, 2017, 6:02pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 October, 2017, 9:41pm

A noodle shop owner in southwestern China who began offering free meals to the needy in September said that just two people had taken advantage of the scheme.

Zhang Yian, who runs an eatery in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, said she was inspired to launch the idea after reading an article online about another noodle shop owner who had done the same thing, local newspaper Chengdu Shangbao reported on Saturday.

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Rather than risk financing the charitable effort completely alone, Zhang posted a message on social media and put a sign up in her shop asking friends and customers for their support.

“Anyone who would like to give some love and care to an elderly person or someone with a physical disability can donate,” the messages said.

In the first week of the appeal Zhang raised more than 2,500 yuan (US$380), the report said.

But with the exception of one disabled couple, no one has taken her up on the offer.

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Zhang said she planned to cover half the cost of the free meals from the donations and half from her own pocket. As each one cost just 4.50 yuan, she said she was awash with cash and had stopped taking donations.

“I can easily cover the cost so far, so I really hope more people can come to enjoy a free meal,” she said.