Chicago man treats 4,000 strangers to meal from Manny’s Deli

Hundreds of Chicago families have food on their table this Christmas after a generous donation at Saint Sabina Church on the South Side.

And it is a win-win-win situation, because not only does it help hungry Chicagoans, but it keeps a restaurant afloat and helps a church where COVID tried to dash their holiday hope.

There were 1,000 meal packages Monday in Englewood, each stuffed with enough corned beef, bread and mustard to feed four people. All of it was paid for by Tom Sondag and made by his favorite restaurant, Manny's Deli.

"I decided as a good citizen to share Manny's with the Saint Sabina neighborhood. It's Christmas week and what better way to kick it off than to feed people," Sondag said.

While the donations feed hungry families, they also keep people at Manny's employed. Owner Dan Raskin says it has been a struggle to keep the longtime South Loop deli going.

"It really helps our business in times like these. We've been grateful to keep employed all 42 of our employees throughout the pandemic because one of my goals is to keep everyone who wants to work, working," Raskin said.

And at Saint Sabina, the timing was perfect. COVID just canceled what is called "Operation Hope," where they give out 2,000 free dinners.

But hope showed up in another form, with a good citizen, a struggling restaurant and a historic church working together to feed 4,000 people.


Cardinal Blase Cupich says this is the Christmas time message we all needed.

"When people come together, we can do a lot," he said. "We all need to come together and make sure that people are nourished by their faith, by their family and of course by food."