"If you can help someone, then why not?"
This is the lesson owner and chef of Giovanni's restaurant Deep Kumar learnt from his late father, a lesson that has inspired him to donate 1000 meals to communities in need this month.
Kumar lost his 61-year-old father Avtar Singh to liver cancer in May last year.
"He passed away during lockdown. So we couldn't say goodbye to him," Kumar told the Rotorua Daily Post.
Kumar's family found out in around February about his father's illness and made plans for Singh to spend his last months in New Zealand.
But the global situation meant the reunion wasn't possible.
Kumar remembered Singh as a "community contributor" and said his father taught him to build himself, then to build others.
"We always saw him helping people as kids and that's something we've always done as a family and we want to continue doing however we can."
One year later, on the first anniversary of Singh's passing, Kumar's grandmother Barfo Devi passed away at the age of 106.
Devi had lived through the 1918 influenza pandemic, and seen the effects of Covid-19 in her town in India as well.
"Until last week she was still walking," Kumar said.
"She'd seen everything. It was a long journey for her.
"She's been tremendous, always working hard."
Kumar said his grandmother could still be found working on the farm at 90 years old. Devi never ate in restaurants.
"It was important to her to always cook fresh."
Kumar's donation of food to Rotorua Whakaora this month honours his two family heroes.
Last Saturday Kumar and a group of family and friends gathered in Giovanni's kitchen from 7am to cook and package 500 boxes of spaghetti and meatballs, ragout and fusilli pasta with marinara sauce as a vegetarian option.
"My food has to be served fresh," Kumar said.
"So I asked Rotorua Whakaora how many people they served in a day.
"I said I will give you what you need and you can distribute it."
Rotorua Whakaora is a food rescue and community group that distributes food to people in need across South Waikato and the Bay of Plenty.
They operate distribution centres in Rotorua, Mamaku, Murupara, Little Waihi, and Maketū to name a few.
Their Rotorua locations can serve more than 100 people per day.
Kumar has been involved with Rotorua Whakaora for about four years now.
Last year he donated 850 meals in memory of his father.
Rotorua Whakaora general manager and co-founder Elmer Peiffer said he was told about the plan to donate 1000 meals in March 2021.
"It blew our minds," Peiffer said.
"We were over the moon that Deep would want to look after the Rotorua community like that."
Later this week, Kumar and his team will be back in the kitchen preparing another 500 meals for distribution.
This time, Kumar plans to serve risotto.
"We know it's not about choice," Kumar said.
"Some people can't afford restaurant-quality food, so why not?"
Kumar doesn't see why he should stop there.
He's already pledged to donate another 1000 meals next year.
"We'll be increasing that every year.
"Maybe we can do better next year."
Kumar said each year the donations will be a tribute to his father and grandmother.
"My father always told us it was our social duty to do something for our community.
"What we learned from [my grandmother] is hard work."
Kumar said he was happy to be giving back to a community that supported him through difficult times in 2020.
"The community have supported us after Covid-19. So this little bit is us giving back.
"If people do what they can we can build a really great community."
Deep Kumar started Giovanni's as a family business in 2017. He now also runs Mama Rosa in Rotorua, and The Bicycle Thief Thief in Christchurch.