A desire to make a difference during the pandemic has led to twice-weekly servings of vegetarian lasagna and garlic toast for frontline workers at Peace Arch Hospital.
Dave Docksteader said that he and Mike Thind of Red Rose Restaurant cooked up the idea about two weeks ago. It took on new life after Docksteader shared photos of the first preparation and delivery effort with his slo-pitch and hockey teammates. He’s involved with the Envirovac Marauders, the New West Bulldogs and the White Rock Knights.
“I sent it out to our managers, they sent it out to the team and the team responded with donations,” Docksteader said Wednesday, noting one donation alone totalled $750 – enough to fund 150 of the meals.
For the first two weeks, 75 fresh, individually bagged lunches were delivered on the Wednesday and Friday. Starting this week, it’s still twice a week, however, Thind said he is now being funded by Peace Arch Hospital Foundation for the Friday meals, which he is providing at half price.
Docksteader said the idea was well-received by two PAH doctors who he plays hockey with, and the hope is to continue the weekly deliveries for “as long as the funds come in” and the need exists.
If word comes that no more is needed at the hospital, Docksteader said he’ll research the possibility of directing further efforts towards the local food bank, which he’s heard is “really suffering” in the pandemic.
Docksteader described the initiative for PAH as one that has been positive for his family as well. Both his wife, Darlene, and daughter, Amy, are also involved, and it’s something they all look forward to.
It’s been positive for Thind as well, he said. Describing the restaurateur as the “hero” in the effort, Docksteader said Thind was also able to reopen his restaurant for take-out and delivery orders as a result.
Thind confirmed Friday that while he did initially close for 18 days, since reopening, his regular dine-in customers are returning and business is “getting better and better.”
He said the hospital initiative is one he feels good about inside. With a daughter who is a psychiatric nurse in Coquitlam, the stress on frontline workers at this time is particularly close to home, he said.
“They’re working hard, they’re putting their life at risk, so we have to take care of them,” he said.
Other businesses pitching in to ease the strain for frontline workers in both Surrey and White Rock include Sheila’s Catering Co., which launched a ‘Feeding Our Community’ campaign to enable customers to donate up to 50 meals for workers at both Peace Arch and Surrey Memorial hospitals; and Everbean Café, located in Abby Lane Health Centre, has set up ongoing gift cards to accept donations from local residents who wish to buy employees of Hilltop Medical Clinic and PAH a coffee or bite to eat.