Donations pour in to ensure Maple Ridge hospital staff are fed

Restaurants owners, and others, helping to ensure frontline crew at Ridge Meadows Hospital eat

Donations have been pouring in to help ensure local hospital staff are fed.

With the COVID crisis forcing frontline health care professionals to work even longer hours, often without breaks or food, a number of restaurant owners in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows have opted to step up to help with some of their nutritional needs.

Coordination of the outpouring of donations has fallen to Deanna Lackey, development officer with the Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation, and she’s admittedly overwhelmed by the generosity she’s witnessed.

“I”m getting to see all the good out there,” she said.

“There’s just been a massive outpouring of people who want to donate food,” Lackey explained, noting most are restaurants operators or business owners anxious to help the hospital staff during these difficult times – when they might not have time or extra energy needed to ensure their own needs are being met.

“I have to tell you, they are so appreciative of everything and anything the community is willing to do to help,” Lackey said, from the nightly 7 p.m. salutes to frontline staff to the donations of personal protective equipment, as well as the gifts of food.

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“They’re really hearing from people that they are appreciated and I think that’s what really gets them through,” she added.

The movement began to build last week with people wanting to show thanks to the frontline workers. The idea of feeding the hospital staff quickly followed with offers for a few smaller donations, Lackey said. Before she knew it, Lackey said concept had just took off.

Now, she has to use a spreadsheet to manage all the donations and to ensure that the food is distributed not only to the ER staff, but all the teams working tirelessly at the hospital during this outbreak.

“We’re making sure everybody [on staff at the hospital] is getting a piece of the community generosity,” Lackey said.

That love is coming in a variety of different forms of food. For instance, Subway owner Harj Sekhon and his team dropped off cases of brownies that were recently distributed to various departments in the hospital.

Shinobi Sushi in downtown Maple Ridge has been delivering more than $100 worth of sushi for lunch, four days a week, Monday through Thursday, for the better part of two weeks now – with no sign of their kindness slowing down, Lackey said.

Taco Fan, a Mexican restaurant just down the street from Shinobi on 224th, showed up with 100 burritos. Panagos is plans to deliver a large number of pizzas next week. Every Thursday for the next several weeks, A&W Restaurants is talking about coming by with 40 pre-bagged meals complete with burgers and apple pies – Lackey explaining that each meal must be individually packaged for safety reason.

White Spot will be visiting the hospital its their White Spot To Go truck and serving about 300 or so burgers during one lunch hour.

And an anonymous donation of 10 dozen doughnuts was dropped off to the hospital foundation this week.

Those are just some of the contributions that have been coming in, so far, Lackey said.

Asked if the foundation has been out soliciting for food donation, she said “no.”

Thus far, it’s been people “knocking on our door right now,” but she added that she’s hopeful the generosity keeps up.

“I’m hoping this continues, because sadly, we expect we’re in this for the long haul,” Lackey said.

While the concentration of donations, thus far, has been focused on lunch hour, the foundation staff are trying to encourage new donors to consider helping out those working the evening through early morning shifts at the hospital.

The staff, not just in the ER, but throughout the hospital are giving all their energies to help curb the COVID pandemic here in this community, Lackey insisted.

“We want to get these night shift people a little bit of the love, too,” she said.

To donate to the frontline food initiative, people can email Deanna Lackey at deanna.lackey@fraserhealth.ca.

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If there is more to this story, please let us know about it. Email us at editor@mapleridgenews.com. We look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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