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County businesses provide dinner and a movie for hospital staff

Tim and Judy McKinney with their three children (gathered at right) stand with frontline workers at PECMH. Rick and Sonya Szabo, owners of the Vic Café, at left.

Nobody envies a hospital worker in a pandemic. Especially when doctors, nurses and other frontline staff members are facing a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and are caring for the community’s most vulnerable people.

As a way to say thank you for their efforts, several local businesses stepped up during Nurses’ Week to show support for them, and all the staff at Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital.

A local realtor and restaurant teamed up to offer one bit of solace: a good meal. And the local Metro grocery store sent more than 100 movie night themed care packages for all the staff members at the hospital.

“Though you couldn’t quite see the reactions behind the face masks, staff at PECMH were overjoyed to receive the gifts of appreciation,” said Briar Boyce, Senior Development Officer.

A hamburger lunch from The Vic Café was delivered on Wednesday courtesy of RE/MAX Quinte Broker, Tim McKinney, his wife Judy and his real estate team.

“It was a privilege to be able to offer some form of comfort to those who have been working non-stop to help keep this pandemic at bay,” said McKinney. “Restaurants may not count as an essential service in the face of COVID-19, but a warm, well-made meal can at least show overworked hospital workers that they are appreciated.”

Forty-five lunches were catered by Rick and Sonya Szabo, owners of Picton’s The Vic Café.

“Today’s delivery reminds us how essential food and hospitality services are to everyone and the way a good meal can brighten someone’s day,” said Sonya Szabo. “In times like this, everyone needs to do what they can to help. This hospital is always here for us, whether it is 5 a.m. or 11 p.m. Whenever an emergency arises, PECMH is always here.”

Pictured out front of PECMH from left on behalf of PECMH, Briar Boyce, Michelle Wilson, Johnathan, Pam Bush, Terry, Shannon Reid. Next to Shannon on behalf of Metro is Murray Lupenette, store manager, Matt Grundy, assistant store manager and Carman Kloet, Metro’s bookkeeper.

On Thursday, Murray Lupenette, manager of the Picton Metro store, along with Matt Grundy, assistant store manager and Carmen Kloet, Metro’s bookkeeper, delivered the movie night gift bags to the hospital to be distributed to staff members “who have been working hard for the health of our community during these extremely difficult and stressful times,” said Lupenette.

The gift bags contained items suited for a movie night at home and included chips, popcorn, licorice, pop, juice boxes and other confectionery treats.

“I am so proud of our community. Since the very early days of this pandemic, residents and businesses have stepped forward to help in so many ways,” said Shannon Coull, executive director of the PECMH Foundation. “We are all in this together.”

While fundraising has helped Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital acquire much-needed medical equipment and supplies in the fight against the COVID-19 crisis, food donations have also played a vital role in keeping health care workers and support staff properly fuelled for the long days and nights on the frontlines of the pandemic. Staff feel directly appreciated by the community with the outpouring of support they have received.”

Staff joined the hospital’s foundation team to express gratitude and appreciation for the hard work put in by Metro’s staff during the pandemic.

“The unsung heroes are all of the essential workers who still show up every day to work to make our lives just a little bit easier during this pandemic – the grocery store workers, the truck drivers, the workers at gas stations, the clerks at pharmacies and hardware stores, the sanitation workers and all the utilities workers,” said Coull. “These are the unsung heroes. The ones we often forget to thank during the crisis. The ones that are also putting their lives on the line everyday. We appreciate all of them.”

Last month, the Foundation launched its COVID-19 Relief Fund, which so far as taken in more than $162,000 in donations.

The Foundation has already put those gifts to work purchasing new equipment and supplies for PECMH and will help Quinte Health Care cover some of the costs at the other hospitals across the Quinte region.

“Without donations from the community, important equipment would not be put into the hands of our healthcare professionals as quickly as it has,” said Coull.

Along with the equipment and supplies the Foundation has been able to purchase, a host of donations including face shields, masks, gloves and food donations from individuals and local businesses and restaurants have helped boost spirits and nourish frontline workers.

Coull noted that no matter if the donation is food, PPE supplies or funds for the purchase of medical equipment, all donations are critical right now, and appreciated. For more information about the hospital foundation’s COVID-19 campaign, visit http://pecmhf.ca/

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