Cosmos Pizza's “No One Should Go Hungry” campaign began Jan. 3 and will continue as long as its needed. (Photo: Facebook / Cosmos Pizza Downtown)

The downtown location for Cosmos Pizza is offering free small pizzas to anyone who cannot afford a meal.

The “No One Should Go Hungry” campaign began Jan. 3 and is sponsored by Prestige Jewellers to give back to the community.

“It's important for any kind of business to give back to the people that support them,” said Abdul Abdo, owner of Cosmos Pizza. “We are really happy to offer this to people in Fort McMurray - especially the vulnerable downtown core.”

The campaign first launched in early 2019 and ran for six months. Abdo said Cosmos Pizza delivered more than 800 meals during that time, and between 20 and 30 people each week were served by the downtown location.

This year, Abdo said the downtown location will offer free meals as long as they are needed.

“There is no end date,” he said. “We're all part of one community and little gestures like this certainly make a difference in people's lives.”

Since early December, homeless shelters and outreach groups have seen an increase in demands for food programs.

In a Dec. 11 interview, Edna Olsen-Moman, executive director of the Salvation Army of Fort McMurray, said the organization's food service program was serving more than 500 meals a week. Moman said this is a high number.

The Wood Buffalo Food Bank (WBFB) also saw demand swell in 2020, adding 50 new households to its client list every month since the spring. Demand is expected to continue rising well into 2021.

For Abdo, the campaign is a small way for him to help people get through financial struggles brought on by COVID-19, low oil prices and April's flooding.

“We really are all in this together,” said Abdo.

-with files from Laura Beamish