Nfld. & Labrador

Bellies fed, spirits lifted: Corner Brook restaurant pitches in for essential workers

A Corner Brook restaurant is trying to take some of the stress off essential workers by providing them with a free meal and a kind-hearted note.

Several businesses and individuals have bought meals to thank front-line workers

Steve Zahanov, co-owner of Sorrento Restaurant, hands off pizzas to Rugged Edge, one of the local businesses that purchased meals for essential workers. (Submitted by Steve Zahanov)

A Corner Brook restaurant is trying to take some of the stress off essential workers by providing them with a free meal and a kind-hearted note.

Customers can call Sorrento Restaurant to pre-order meals that the restaurant will deliver to those who are working on the front lines. Alternatively, essential workers can call in and pick up.

"No questions asked, as long as you are an essential worker, there is a free meal there for you," said co-owner Steve Zahanov, 

On top of a warm meal, a personalized note of support also gets attached to the delivery. 

Zahanov said the restaurant chipped in $250 to pay for some meals and at least four other local businesses have matched that. A number of regular customers have also purchased items off the menu to support essential workers.

The meals so far have been handed out to a group of nurses at the hospital, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and the RCMP. 

Zahanov said the act of kindness is doing what he expected it would: putting smiles on people's faces.

Each delivery comes with a personal, encouraging note. (Submitted by Steve Zahanov)

"They are like, 'Is this real? Are you sure?' I am like, 'Yeah, it's real,'" said Zahanov.

"These essential workers have had so much to worry about; the last thing they should worry about is a hot, delicious meal."

'A little token of appreciation'

Andrew Clarke, owner of Central Landscaping, saw the advertisement on Facebook and thought it would be a good way to help his own community.

"For me it was twofold: obviously the essential workers could use a little token of appreciation. The other thing is we are a small business and we know Sorrento is a small business as well … so we thought we would help out," said Clarke. 

This is one of the essential workers who got a free meal and nice note. (Submitted by Steve Zahanov)

Clarke said some of the essential workers expressed their gratitude, which alone was worth the $250 he had donated.

With financial hardships across the world, Zahanov said, the acts of kindness are a win-win for everyone. 

With more people participating, it also helps out his business. He said one week of takeout sales isn't comparable to even one night in the restaurant.

He has considered closing the restaurant but thought it was better for the community and his staff to stay open.

"I figure we [have] to weather the storm. It's good for us because we are sending out meals, we are helping the community, but it's helping us stay afloat."

Customers can pick anything off the menu to send to an essential worker. (Submitted by Steve Zahanov)

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