Calgary bakery breaks bread with community during COVID-19 pandemic

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An Alberta family-run bakery is lending the community a hand.

European Bakery in Calgary has been delivering loaves of bread to seniors and others in need throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with hundreds having been delivered to people’s doorsteps free of charge since the middle of March.

“We do 60 loaves per delivery, we’ve done it three or four times until now,” said owner Shaqir Duraj.

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A native of Kosovo, Duraj and his family were among the millions which fled the country during the war in 1999. Landing in Canada, he settled down in Calgary, opening his bakery on the popular 17th Avenue in 2006.

“How could I not do this?” said Duraj. “When I came into this country, I realized there was something that I could really do.”

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Duraj’s bakery, like many other Alberta small enterprises, has been hit hard by the pandemic, having lost significant business, including hotels and other restaurants it caters to. While many businesses have had to lay off staff and cut costs, Duraj is keeping as many of his employees as he can and is still seeking more volunteers to help advance his initiative.

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