Hospital workers get morale boosting free lunch from local businessman

lunch ctv montreal

By Christine Long, CTV Montreal

Five thousand Montreal hospital workers got a morale boost Monday in the form of free food—lunches delivered to them by a local businessman who's been worrying about their mental health.

“They’re saving lives,” said Barry Lorenzetti, a financial services entrepreneur whose family also runs a foundation dedicated to improving mental health care in Canada.

“We’re very fortunate to be safe at home, secure in our homes, and they’re on the front lines,” he said. “It’s very, very important that we recognize them.”

The food was wheeled onto the premises on Monday at the McGill University Health Centre in NDG, enough for not only nurses and doctors, but orderlies, maintenance workers, researchers and everyone else on staff.

These types of gestures do mean a lot, said Michelle van Vliet, a spokeswoman for the MUHC. 

“Everybody realizes that healthcare workers are feeling the burden probably more than all of us, at the front lines,” she said. 

“This just a chance for them to come in on a Monday and not worry about having to go to the grocery store and not worry about having to pack a lunch, and they can sit back in their units and relax and enjoy a sandwich and a water.”

Wafa Saad, who works at the hospital, said the “generous” move was felt equally by “everybody in the hospital—all the employees, starting from the housekeeping to the head of each department.”

In total, the meals cost almost $27,000. Lorenzetti said workers’ mental health has been weighing heavily on him lately, and how to plan to keep it strong.

“Our biggest challenge…is coming up,” he said. 

On the heels of the first COVID-19 crisis will be “the future pandemic, I believe, we’re going to have with mental health,” he said. “Getting our employees back to work is one thing—it’s really getting them fine-tuned.” 

“We’ve got to be there on the sidelines for them as well.”



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