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Couple's restaurant that fed people for free in its heyday was facing closure. Then the community stepped up

This couple's business faced a significant hurdle when their electricity went off due to the authority's fault.

Couple's restaurant that fed people for free in its heyday was facing closure. Then the community stepped up
Cover Image Source: GoFundMe | Sara Mardanbigi

Even though the stress of everyday life makes it really hard for people to even look at each other, let alone interact, the power of community always shines through. Edgar Rico and Sara Mardanbigi felt emotionally moved when they were bestowed with kindness from people around them at a time when everything else in their lives was falling apart, as reported by Good News Network. It was at that moment that the couple realized that no good deed ever goes to waste. In their heyday, they contributed to the betterment of the community and now have hundreds of people standing up for them in their time of need.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Life Of Pix
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Life Of Pix

The couple opened their business in 2019. They named the establishment Nixta Taqueria and chose East Austin, an area known as a food desert, for their locality. The Mexican restaurant quickly became known for its wonderful ambiance and food. Just like every other restaurant, Nixta Taqueria was also impacted by the pandemic. The future was looking grim as people stopped coming in to eat. The restaurant changed its strategy and began providing curbside delivery. It helped them to stay afloat. The couple's intention was never to just run the place for money, as they also wanted it to be a place where people experienced warmth and safety.

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A post shared by Nixta Taqueria (@nixtataqueria)


Due to this intention, they decided to become a pilot site for the Free Fridge Program. It was created to combat food insecurity and food waste prevalent in Austin. The organization sets up refrigerators at various locations, filling them with food and beverages for vulnerable populations. The couple began filling the fridge with food prepared in their restaurant so that people in need could access it in their own comfort. There were days when the couple refilled the refrigerator 20 times, as it quickly got emptied. During summer, the couple also put in hydration packs to help people suffering from the heat.

Image Source: GoFundMe/Sara Mardanbigi
Image Source: GoFundMe | Sara Mardanbigi

The refrigerators were a godsend for homeless people. Seeing how the whole thing positively impacted their community, the couple became more committed to the cause. Unfortunately, this summer, everything went haywire. The establishment had to shut down operations because of an electrical issue. They shared that the whole trouble happened because of "city oversight." The couple went to the drawing board to search for solutions to keep them afloat. No matter how hard they tried they couldn't manage the money they needed for a fix.

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A post shared by Nixta Taqueria (@nixtataqueria)


They finally landed on the idea that they should set up a GoFundMe campaign. The couple poured their hearts out on the page. "This is important to us because we built something from the ground up. It's been a place that has always uplifted and supported our community," they wrote. "There's a long road ahead, but we're going to keep trying and fighting. That's all we can do." They set a goal of $80,000, but in a matter of few days, managed to collect close to $114,000. People were more than happy to support an establishment that always gave back when they had the opportunity. 

Dan Reade showed his gratitude by donating $250 and wrote, "Y'all fed us when we were frozen. You figured out how to make curbside happen when people were sick. You feed the community with the fridge and pantry. You lift other area chefs up and help grow other businesses along the way. It's the least that we could do when y'all already do so much. THANK YOU!"

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