Chef Basha, Mohamad Mousa, and Ahmad Albakoure, along with their families, arrived in Saint John from Syria in 2016, seeking a fresh start and a new life.
By October 2022, they had not only settled well into their new community but also embarked on an inspiring venture together—a restaurant that would serve the people of Saint John. Turkish Big Bite, located on the city’s east side, warmly opened its doors, inviting everyone to experience their unparalleled hospitality and savor their delicious food.
“Our goal is to support both the Newcomers Community and the local community,” say the owners of Turkish Big Bite. “We arrived as government-sponsored refugees and have now become Canadian citizens.”
When Basel Lababede from Newcomer Connections approached Turkish Big Bite in 2022, it was a natural partnership. Their aim was to provide meals to the newest Government Assisted Refugees from Afghanistan who arrived in Saint John and were temporarily accommodated.
“We feel a strong sense of belonging to this wonderful community that warmly welcomed us at the airport and provided all the essentials for our resettlement in Saint John,” said the owners of Turkish Big Bite. “By working with newcomers and supporting the YMCA, we strive to contribute and express our gratitude for the invaluable services the YMCA offers to everyone in our community, particularly newcomers.”
Giving back to the YMCA and Newcomer Connections has become an integral part of Turkish Big Bite’s commitment to building heartfelt connections within the local community. In the first week of the partnership, Turkish Big Bite provided Newcomer Connections with a hundred meals a week, which grew to more than 40 meals per day by early April 2023.
Basel, having witnessed the profound impact of the daily meals meticulously prepared by the team at Turkish Big Bite, expresses gratitude for the partnership between YMCA Newcomer Connections and Turkish Big Bite.
“Having Turkish Big Bite in our city has been a tremendous asset,” says Besel. “Now, newcomers receive daily hot meals upon their arrival, easing their initial days of uncertainty. Turkish Big Bite supports our clients by providing healthy and warm meals to families staying at temporary accommodations.”