Operation Ramzieh issues new appeal for donations to help community during COVID-19

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Coming together at a time when we have to be physically apart: this is Operation Ramzieh’s mission during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The group of volunteers box up food for those who can’t leave their homes.

For many, this is a lifeline, according to Executive Chef Andrew Craig.

“There was a woman who has a disabled husband and two kids, she was actually trying to figure out how to end her life when we brought the box by,” Craig explains, taking a pause “That’s why we’re here. That’s what we’re doing.”

The program was started a week ago by the Dreammind Group, setting up in the Waverly restaurant on Elgin Street.

The group says since then they've packaged and delivered just under 10,000 boxes, at a cost of about $5,000 a day.

In that time, they even needed to expand. Moving into a larger space at the Bruyere Hospital has allowed them to practice physical distancing, and keep the food that comes in.

Bruyere Foundation President Peggy Taillon says they were happy to offer up the unused space to Operation Ramzieh.

“They came and brought 200 boxes of groceries to our seniors living in Bruyere Village in Orleans,” Taillon says. “One of the things that they mentioned during our unloading is they really needed the space to do all these things. We’re really proud and excited to be part of this.”

Even the boxes have changed throughout the days. A focus on healthy food like fresh fruit, potatoes, bread and cold milk.

Operation Ramzieh coordinator Sharon Bosley-House says they have even added flowers for seniors.

“They live alone” Bosley-House says holding a bouquet. “We’ve seen many of them crying, scared they’re going to die alone in their apartments and this is to show them that we’re thinking about them.”

The group gets the majority of the food donations from local hotels and restaurants unloading their unused food as they shut their doors during the COVID-19 closures, Suppliers have been providing things at cost as well.

But Craig says financial donations go a long way to help those in Ottawa in need.

“People that are trapped in their house or that can’t get out, they're in wheelchairs, or can’t feed their kids, it really is important that we take care of our most vulnerable at this time.”

You can make a financial donation on the Operation Ramzieh website. 

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