A Winnipeg born and raised actress is back in town and is helping those who have been helping others during the pandemic.
Nia Vardalos, who is the star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, has been back in Winnipeg for around six weeks and after her two-week quarantine, she shifted her attention to helping health-care workers and also those in need.
Speaking with CTV News on Thursday, Vardalos, alongside her sister Nancy Vardalos-Ginakes said the idea came after they lost their dad in March.
"Of course we couldn't have a funeral and at the time that it happened to us it was a very unique story and now 10 months later it is not unique at all," said Vardalos.
"Well, what we did is we turned it into a fundraising effort," she added, "We are not asking folks at home who are possibly out of work or not able to feed a family, we are asking corporations."
"Nia made lemonade out of lemons because she wasn’t able to come home for our dad's funeral back in March and it's nothing but positive, the work that she has done," said Vardalos-Ginakes.
Since starting the fundraising, Vardalos said around 50,000 meals have been given to hospital workers throughout Canada and the United States and she has even received support from people like Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson.
Vardalos has also started using the hashtag 'big fat donation' to encourage people to donate to their local food banks and support those in need such as local businesses.
She said the power of social media can push a cause like this along, noting she met a professor in Toronto and then they became friends on Twitter and now he has donated $5,000 to his local food bank.
"We are asking for you to look up and see who is need in your neighbourhood," said Vardalos.
Vardalos-Ginakes, along with her family, owns Bellamy's Restaurant and Bar in St. Vital and she said while she will make it through the pandemic, they know others who might not.
"We have friends who are not in that situation and so that's why we are speaking out because it is so important that you support, whether it be a local restaurant or a local business, if you can do that it would be fantastic," said Vardalos-Ginakes.