For the last 8 year, about 200 residents of Strunino, a small town in Russia’s Vladimir Oblast region have not had to worry about buying bread, thanks to the generosity of a local grocery store owner who has been giving it away for free.
Mamoud Shavershyan came to Russia, from Armenia, 25 years ago. He worked as an engineer, before setting up his own business, a small grocery store no different than other such stores in Strunino. But everything changed one day, 8 years ago when, sitting behind the counter, Mamoud saw an old lady counting dozens of coins to pay for a couple of loaves of bread. He found it humiliating for the pensioner and ended up giving her the bread for free. That day, he made the decision to print coupons that pensioners in Strunino could exchange for white or black bread at his store. To make sure that people knew about his offer he advertised it a local paper.
But that was only the beginning. Soon, Mamoud extended his generous offer to people with disabilities, large families with low income, and the generally poor. News spread like wildfire, and soon poor people from neighboring villages started coming by his shop to receive coupons. Today, the “Eric” grocery store in Strunino gives away around 2,000 loaves of white bread and 1,000 loaves of black bread, every month. They also regularly donate gingerbread to local kindergartens, and to coupon holders during holidays. And for their kindness, Mamoud and his family are “rewarded” with insults, racial slurs and accusations of theft…