Ban Chok Dee, a Thai restaurant in downtown Langley City, is one of nine participating in a feeding initiative for the Langley Memorial Hospital. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Downtown Langley eateries pull together to feed hospital staff

Business association makes contribution aimed at helping hospital and restaurants

During the past week, there have been some unexpected deliveries almost daily at Langley Memorial Hospital.

It’s not of the baby variety, either – although that might have been possible, too. Rather, these deliveries are coming in the form of food for the hospital staff.

With the COVID crisis forcing frontline health care professionals to work even longer hours, often without breaks or food, a number of Langley businesses and individuals have stepped up to help them take care of some of their nutritional needs.

So for more than a week now, donations have been pouring in to help ensure local hospital staff are being fed, and fed well, said Terra Scheer, fundraising and communication director for the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation.

And that feeding effort is about to ramp up today (Monday, April 6), thanks to an initiative by the Downtown Langley Business Association (DLBA).

RELATED: Hospital foundation seeks ventilators, respite for weary medics

The most recent to jump on the bandwagon was the DLBA and a team of nine local restaurant – more expected to come aboard – who want to help, explained their executive director Teri James.

“This is the DLBA’s way of thanking all of the employees at the Langley Memorial Hospital for working so diligently around the clock to try and keep our community safe,” James said, explaining how the association has donated money to launch the feeding program.

The only stipulation accompanying the donation is that hospital staff coordinate through the foundation and order from participating downtown restaurants that have agreed to provide special $10 (individually packaged and not family-style) designed dinners specifically for them.

“It’s not like they’re going to be making money at this,” James said of participating restaurants that are required to deliver a complete dinner meals for that price.

RECENT COVERAGE: VIDEO – A delivery of thanks to Langley hospital workers battling COVID-19

Out of about 40 restaurants in the downtown, there are nine (with the possibility of more to come) participating in the program: Adelicia’s Mexican Restaurante, Andreas Restaurant, Avishan Middle East Grill Restaurant, Ban Chok Dee, Brogan’s Diner, Chef Sushi, Emilio Finatti Pizzeria, Leef & Stem, and Olivo Pasta.

Kick starting the effort with a $3,000 donation from the DLBA, that translates to 300 meals, James said, calling it a good start. She described it as a win-win situation for all involved, noting that it also guarantees business for some local restaurants that are struggling because of COVID.

“We don’t know how long it will last,” said James, but if the program works well in the coming days, there might be an effort to secure more funding for the program.

For a few downtown restaurateurs – who couldn’t guarantee they’re ongoing participation in the DLBA food program in the next few weeks – they’ve decided to give in different ways.

Venetis Restaurant, for instance, has donated 30 lasagnas, while the new Egg Bomb restaurant – struggling to get eggs – offered to provide coffee ongoing at no cost.

“It’s been overwhelming,” Scheer said of the outpouring of support – not only from the DLBA , but other contributions that have been come in – primarily from restaurant operators or business owners anxious to help the hospital staff during these difficult times.

Admittedly, Scheer said the health care professionals might not have time or extra energy needed to ensure their own needs are being met, so these contributions are meaningful and somewhat imperative.

She described the meal programs as a welcome addition to a grassroots movement that began a few weeks with people wanting to show their thanks to the health care workers by making noise every night at 7 p.m., collecting personal protective equipment, raising money for needed supplies, and simply boasting morale.

The idea of feeding the hospital staff was an off-shoot of that movement that quickly followed – initially as offers for a few smaller donations, Scheer said. But before she knew it, the concept had taken off.

MORE COVERAGE: Feeding front-line medical responders at Langley Memorial Hospital

Now, it falls to the foundation to ensure that all the food is being distributed not only to the ER staff, but all the teams working tirelessly at the hospital during this outbreak. She explained that works – not just in the emergency ward, but throughout the facilities – are giving all their energies to help curb the COVID pandemic here in this community, Scheer insisted.

“And they’re feeling the love from the community,” she said, admittedly inspired by the generosity she’s witnessed.

Recently, for instance, Timmy Hortons came by with coffee, muffins, and doughnuts for all in the hospital’s long-term care facility. A&W Restaurants showed up with 100 meal for frontline staff. The team from the Raving Gamer showed up with stew and pot pies. Angie Quaale of Well Seasoned showed up with more food on the weekend.

Prior to that, Pizza Mantra and a women’s volleyball team kicked off some of the food donations.

“It’s really challenging times, and a lot of people don’t have much to give. But they’re still stepping up and contributing… Their pulling together to help… There are so many incredible things going on out there. It truly is overwhelming,” Scheer said.

To donate to the frontline food initiative, people can email info@lmhfoundation.com or call 604-533-6422 and leave a message.

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Is there more to this story?

roxanne.hooper@langleyadvancetimes.com

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