A Dieppe, N.B., couple, originally from India, are trying to do everything they can to provide support as the COVID-19 situation worsens in their home country.
The impact of the virus crippling the health-care system is being felt far and wide.
“In the last two weeks, it has gone … from bad to worse,” says Shikha Sobti, co-owner of Sai Krishna Foods. “The only thing we have to do is stay strong, stay positive, be hopeful and keep everybody in our prayers.”
It hits home for the worried couple, who are trying to maintain contact with loved ones.
“Raman’s mother also, she is also very critical right now,” Shikha says. “She is in ICU (intensive care unit) and it’s sad…. It’s upsetting.”
Shikha and Raman moved to New Brunswick in 2017 and are now producing authentic, handmade samosas as part of their business, Sai Krishna Foods.
“When Raman started with the idea, I was like, ‘Who would eat samosas in Moncton?'” she chuckles.
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But customers quickly quashed any doubt. After starting off with a kitchen set up in the couple’s garage, demand ramped up.
“One guy, he approached us (and asked) if I can make samosas for him,” Raman says. “First order, we (made) 200 samosas.”
Eventually, the business took off as they sold 50,000 samosas in their first year in New Brunswick.
Stuffed with veggies and meat, or other alternatives, the couple wanted to bring a flavour of home to the province.
Sai Krishna has since partnered with several companies, including Sankara, an online multicultural marketplace that originated in Saint John.
“It’s basically like an Amazon for cultural vendors,” says Kyle Tomagan, Sankara’s lead marketing co-ordinator.
COVID-19 relief donations
The Sobtis are now able to support COVID-19 relief efforts through the partnership.
“When we thought about this fundraiser to donate 10 per cent of the proceeds from Sai Krishna’s meal box to GiveIndia, it just kind of all clicked,” Tomagan says.
“We were looking for an opportunity (to) help,” says Shikha. “We were feeling helpless.”
Read more: Canada sends medical supplies to India as COVID-19 overwhelms country’s health care
The partnership is a chance for Moncton to diversify its tastebuds and support India from afar, she says.
“It’s a great opportunity for people to taste our food, as well,” Shikha says. “I think it’s a great opportunity and by doing that, (people) will be helping a cause.”
“I know that from across other countries, help is reaching India,” she says. “All the nations are coming together and helping India through this difficult time.”
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