People across the Fraser Valley are banding together in support of a donation-based effort that provides free meals for frontline healthcare workers.
Lunches for Healtcare Workers is the ongoing endeavour of Bryan Mendiola, owner of Surrey's powerhouse soup and sandwich spot The Carvery and Craig Turley, a local food blogger behind Surrey Eats and Fraser Valley Eats, and creator of the new Instagram Take-Out Challenge.
So far, their combined efforts, along with the help of numerous area small restaurants, have provided 900 free meals to frontline hospital staff.
Mendiola initially got things going when he started to supply free soup and bread to Surrey's Peach Arch Hospital at lunchtime. With his restaurant sales plummeting and resources quickly running out, Mendiola challenged other eateries. The Lunches for Healthcare Workers GoFundMe campaign was launched, and that soon raised over $7000.
With Turley on board, Lunches for Healthcare Workers has moved into phase two, aiming to raise $10,000 to continue to feed the workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.
Restaurants coming on board are not only able to get meals to hardworking healthcare employees, but also sustain their own small businesses in these challenging times.
Among the restaurants so far that have taken part include Pepperoni Café, Kin Thai Kitchen + Bar, Cotto Al Mare, Hillcrest Bakery, Everbean Café, Chutney’s South Surrey, Sheila’s Catering Company, and Training Day Café & Kitchen.
“What this crisis has taught us is that we need to start thinking of multi-levelled approaches so we can help as many people as possible in our community," said Mendiola.
“We are providing local restaurants the orders needed to help them fight another day,” said Turley. “We need to support these restaurants now or they won't be around in the future. We are healing businesses so they can sustain the hospital workers, who then work to heal us. It is truly the definition of community partnership and reciprocal care.”
Mendiola and Turley are challenging residents of Surrey, Langley, White Rock, and the rest of the Fraser Valley to donate, if possible, or share the campaign on social media. Restaurants are also encouraged to reach out to take part in Lunch for Healthcare Workers.
You can donate to Lunches for Healthcare workers here.