Pay it back: Letná restaurant offers free lunches to senior citizens, hopes to inspire others to do same

"It seems sad to me when, after decades of work, a person has to decide whether a hundred crowns should be enough for two days or three," the restaurant co-owner said

Samantha Tatro

Written by Samantha Tatro
Published on 11.08.2020 10:09 (updated on 11.08.2020)

The couple behind the restaurant Stereo in Letná are helping pay it back to their community by providing free lunches to senior citizens who otherwise might not be able to afford to hot meal.

The Barták family, who owns the restaurant, noticed over the years that many seniors visited their restaurant. In many cases, the seniors were people who dedicated their lives to caring for others, like teachers or doctors. However, after paying their rent and making ends meet, they often had very little left to enjoy life and eat out.

“It seems sad to me when, after decades of work or raising children, a person has to decide in old age whether a hundred crowns should be enough for two days or three,” Stereo co-owner Michal Barták told Blesk.cz.

The restaurant offers more than free lunches, though. It’s also a chance for the seniors to get out and socialize when they otherwise might not be talking to many people.

“The time spent between people and a few sentences exchanged with waitresses helps to break their loneliness,” Barták added.

Stereo Restaurant in Prague 7 via Jason Pirodsky
Stereo Restaurant in Prague 7 via Jason Pirodsky

The project is one of the first cooperations between the social services department at Prague 7’s City Hall and the business community. The mayor of Prague 7, Jan Čižinský, said that sometimes seniors may be afraid to ask for help and would prefer to skip lunches. He hopes other restaurants follow in their footsteps.

If your restaurant in Prague 7 wants some financial assistance in feeding the elderly, you can contact the Department of Social Affairs here.

It’s now the second year in a row where the Barták family has been giving away free lunches to seniors, and the couple wanted to share their story with Blesk.cz to inspire other businesses to do the same.

“None of us can solve all the world’s problems, but we can certainly feed eight or ten people from the area,” Barták said.