C Express Feeds Kids for Free

The Oklahoma c-store owner wants to help local children thrive during the pandemic.

January 29, 2021

NORMAN, Okla.—The C Express has a heart for the kids in its community, offering free meals for anyone under the age of 18, no questions asked, the Norman Transcript reports. Owner Richie Kaneria said it started when a customer said she didn’t have enough money to feed her kids. Kaneria wanted to help, and he offered her a free meal.

“I was thinking about it, and I talked to my wife and she said, ‘why don’t you just do this [for everyone], even if it’s just for a short time?’” Kaneria said. “Then we talked again and she said, ‘We can do it every day.’”

The free meal consists of a half order of potato wedges, a fountain drink and a corndog or a bean and beef burrito. “This is the first time we’ve done something like this, so we’re kind of learning on the fly,” Kaneria told the newspaper. “At first we were wondering, ‘Are we going to be able to keep up with it? What if lines of people show up?’ We don’t have multiple fryers. My worry was that a lot of people would show up and we wouldn’t have enough, [and that’s] embarrassing. But it hasn’t been super crazy and we’ve been able to manage it.”

Kaneria noted the pandemic has significantly impacted parents with kids at home because of virtual schooling and no access to school lunches. “A lot of them are in the restaurant business or businesses that have really been hurt, and they have almost no income,” he told the newspaper. “So when it comes to food, we hope we can help.”

The community has been very supportive of the free meals. Kaneria said it would be “awesome” if other convenience stores also had a similar offer. “We’re all in this together,” he said.

Coronavirus Resources

NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.