Halifax chef and entrepreneur Frances Dadin-Alli of Franyz Kitchen has been giving out free food to African international students still staying at Dalhousie University residence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dadin-Alli took to social media to spread the word that she’d be providing Nigerian delicacies for 55 students stuck in residence–and has since expanded her offerings to students at SMU, MSVU and King's, too.
In 2010, Dadin-Alli moved to Canada from Nigeria for her post-secondary education at Dalhousie University. At some point during her studies she started feeling emotionally and financially stressed, and this affected her grades.“I had difficulty in school. Like on residence, being an international student and also just coping with being new to Canada,” she said.
Now, 10 years later, Dadin-Alli uses that experience and support she got from the school and loved ones as motivation to provide food for students.
“As far as this lockdown is on, I know that students on campus don’t really have anywhere to go or have their families around,” she says. “I don’t know if the cafeterias are open.
“I can’t even imagine what they’re going through now that everyone is isolated.”
Dadin-Alli said seeing health care workers helping people during this period also inspired her to do something, so she said to herself: “You know what? I don’t know how long I’m gonna be indoors. Why don’t I use my time to actually do something good for people like me that might be struggling on campus?”
Dadin-Alli has since received money and food donations from people to support her efforts.
“The goal is to actually cook for international African students and Caribbean students on the university campus like Dalhousie, SMU, Mount, King's,” she said.
Cooking is the way Dadin-Alli expresses her love for people, something she started doing while she was still a student. “It’s something that I love doing. Like I love cooking for people,” she said.
So far, she's cooked up some Jollof rice with peppered BBQ chicken—but thanks to COVID-19's yeast shortages, no puff puff—for 12 students and hopes more students reach out for a meal.