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Hamilton Health Sciences Home
May 14, 2020

Local organization helps staff pay it forward with a warm meal

We Feed The Need is making it their mission to lift the spirits and fill the bellies of Hamilton’s front-line. They work with top eateries to provide meals to healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential workers who are tirelessly caring, protecting and supporting the community during the pandemic.

When We Feed The Need approached Shirley Rodrigues, an occupational therapist at Juravinski Hospital (JH), about receiving a meal in her workplace, she had  a new idea.

“She was touched by the consideration but respectfully felt others in the community may be in more need of this kind gesture,” said Vel Snoukphonh, one of the founders of We Feed The Need and a former employee of Hamilton Health Sciences. “So we came up with a compromise. Staff on her unit received a delicious meal and could also pay it forward to a group of their choice. They chose to have their contribution go towards providing a meal for seniors.”

Charge nurse Kristina

Rodrigues works on an Acute Medicine Unit at JH which cares for patients with serious medical conditions such as heart failure, pneumonia, diabetes, and stroke. But during COVID-19, the unit has become an area where people who are being tested for the virus await their results. On Wednesday, staff on the unit enjoyed a meal prepared by local restaurant Berkeley North, with produce supplied by Buttram Farms.

“We feel honoured to be recognized in this way and loved that so many aspects of the community came together to support us and the seniors most affected by COVID-19,” says Rodrigues. “Our deepest gratitude to the staff at Buttram Farms and Berkeley North, as well as the selfless volunteers who coordinated this heart-warming gesture.”

The meal consisted of jerk pulled pork or roasted mushrooms with a creamy potato salad, carrot cabbage slaw, and roasted sweet squash.

Since the unit predominantly cares for seniors, staff chose to pay it forward and make a donation to feed a local retirement home.

“We felt that everyone there could benefit from a kind and heartfelt gesture after facing such a difficult challenge,” says Snoukphonh.

Today, staff and residents of the Cardinal Place Retirement Home will enjoy braised short ribs with cheese polenta and green beans, thanks to another local restaurant, Aberdeen Tavern. There are more than 10 restaurants participating in this initiative.

We Feed the Need was started in early April by Snoukphonh and friend Sadaf Bhatti, a social worker at McMaster Children’s Hospital. Donations are collected through a GoFundMe page to support restaurant partners to prepare and deliver meals.

We Feed The Need coordinated their generous donation through HHS’ We Care Program. Due to infection control measures, all donations must be reviewed and confirmed by our We Care Team prior to delivery. To inquire about donations or posting discount codes or vouchers for HHS staff via our We Care program, contact wecare@hhsc.ca.