‘Extra little bonus’: Holiday meals donated to health-care workers

WINNIPEG — The holiday season is a time of year to give back, and some students from the University of Manitoba are in the spirit.

Shelby Browne and Kirstin Maharajh are in the Health Sciences program at the U of M and part of the Community Health Students Association.

They made a special holiday delivery to the Health Sciences Centre (HSC) on Monday.

“We’ve actually prepared a rib dinner and a turkey dinner for the ICU staff here at Health Sciences Centre, and we’ll be delivering 140 meals,” said Browne.

Needing cash for the plan, Browne and Maharajh started a GoFundMe page.

They used the money raised to buy meals from a locally owned restaurant and gave the meals to front line workers.

“We thought that this would just be a nice way to give back and show our appreciation,” said Browne.

“(It) also gives back to businesses too, so that’s why we really like the idea, we can kind of do both in one fundraiser,” added Maharajh.

Sean Fabbro, manager of volunteer services at HSC, said the meals would go to staff in the intensive care unit, a place that’s very busy right now due to COVID-19.

“Most of the people in these units are working twelve hours,” said Fabbro. “They have their family obligations and then they have to come to work. If they have a meal available, it’s just an extra little bonus for them.”

Silver Heights Restaurant and Lounge was selected to provide the meals for HSC.

Owner Tony Siwicki said operating a restaurant during the pandemic is tough, and he feels blessed to be considered for such a unique fundraiser.

“(You’re) trying to stay open, keep the lights on, and then you have somebody that makes a phone call saying we want to help you and help somebody else,” he said.

Siwicki wants frontline workers to know they’re being thought of during this challenging time.

The “Hot Holiday Meals for Healthcare Workers” GoFundMe page is still up and operating, and Browne and Maharajh plan to continue bringing meals to different hospitals in the city.

They hope this will boost morale in the hospital and bring a smile to frontline workers’ faces.

“There are so many ways to give back and there are so many ways for people to help people that need assistance right now,” said Browne. “This is just a good way to help out local business and health-care staff all in one.”

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