Every Thursday, we share a story about a Sinai Health Champion of Care, or a member of our community who has helped provide critical support to our patients, our teams and our hospitals.
Q & A with Adair Roberts of Feed the Frontlines TO, and Jeff Packer & Divij Mehra of Meals TO Heal
The story of Feed the Frontlines TO began when Toronto’s Adair Roberts hatched an idea to help her restauranteur friends in New York City during the COVID-19 shutdowns. Adair ordered 40 dinners from her friends’ restaurant, and delivered the food to the staff in a NYC hospital Emergency Department. Then she decided to make the same thing happen in Toronto, to support the city’s restaurants and its front-line healthcare workers.
Similarly, Jeff Packer and Div Mehra two friends who met at their jobs at Toronto’s Konrad Group decided to find a way to give back to front-line hospital workers while also supporting local businesses. Meals TO Heal has now raised more than $40,000 to donate 2000+ meals. In addition to supporting restaurants throughout Toronto, Jeff and Div also partnered with an organization called Brainchanges, which has matched every single meal they delivered with a medical mask.
Q: What inspired you to support Mount Sinai Hospital and Sinai Health?
Adair: I've worked in the mental health and addictions sector for over 20 years and have had the good fortune of working with just about every hospital in the city. My time spent working with the people and teams at Sinai Health has been among the most enjoyable of my career. When I started Feed the Frontlines TO, Sinai Health was the obvious choice.
Jeff: I actually volunteered at Mount Sinai Hospital in the Fracture Clinic while I was pursuing my M.Sc. at the University of Toronto. Back then I actually was planning on going down the medical school route! I had a fantastic experience while volunteering, so Mount Sinai was at the very top of our list of hospitals we wanted to support, due in large part to my personal connection with the hospital, but also due to its recognition as one of the city's and country's premier medical institutions.
What would you say to the front-line health-care workers who are providing life-saving care?
Adair: Thank you for risking your health to take care of your patients, for the long hours you put in and for all the times you’ve washed your hands and taken your PPE on and off. Thank you for all the patients you’ve reassured and supported. Thank you for missing meals because you’ve been too busy to eat. We are privileged to be able to support you in this small way.
Jeff: Thank you. We are immensely grateful for front-line workers' courageous efforts towards keeping our community safe and providing life-saving care to those who have been impacted by the virus. From all of us at Meals TO Heal, not just Div and me, we cannot thank you enough, and we are hopeful that our support can at the very least provide a small thank you for your selfless efforts towards keeping all of us safe.
Why should others support organizations like Sinai Health which are dealing with this health-care crisis head on?
Adair: We are all in this fight together and we need to support each other in whatever ways we can. Donations, messages of support, children’s drawings of thanks — every little gesture can make a difference.
Jeff: It is during difficult times like this that our community must come together to support one another. We can come out of this as a stronger, more accepting and more united community. By supporting Sinai Health with these efforts, we can make a substantial and positive impact for people who have been most impacted by the virus — the patients and their families and front-line health-care workers.
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