I spoke with Canmore & Area Health Care Foundation Executive Director Soulafa Al-Abbasi about a great program to say thank-you to our local hospital staff.


Rob: Tell us a little bit about the Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation’s Thank-You Meals Fundraiser.

Soulafa: It was actually an idea that came from a grateful patient who wanted to give back to the frontline workers at the Canmore Hospital, Rob Jennings. We had a discussion about how do we put together a program where donors can support local restaurants and at the same time get a tax receipt for their donations while also thanking all the frontline workers and staff at the Canmore General Hospital. So we’ve put this together and aimed for a target of $15,000, which would get us a total of six meals over the summer months. The plan is to offer two days per month, June, July, and August. That includes a lunch meal and a dinner meal per day for around 130 staff.

Rob: These are all people who’ve been pretty busy working during the pandemic at the hospital?

Soulafa: Absolutely. We’re going to cover everyone who is going to be there on the day. It’s all the healthcare workers who have been going in and working while we were keeping safe at home. It’s a thank you meal, but it’s also supporting the local economy and the local restaurants. We chose restaurants that have been giving back to the community throughout this period. For example, Murrieta’s is one. Iron Goat is another one. We’re also in conversation with the Mine Shaft at Origins, Chez Francois, Mountain Juice Café, and JK Bakery. We’re really trying to do a win, win, win situation for the restaurants, the donors to give back and get a tax receipt, and the same time thank all the front line and the healthcare staff at the Canmore Hospital.

Rob: This is a fundraiser and you’ve already raised a fairly significant amount towards the goal, haven’t you?

Soulafa: The response has been amazing. Our target for the short term was $5,000 so that we could do a day. Then our long term target was $15,000 and we’re at $13,000 now.

Rob: How can people donate if they’d like to help you out with this final fundraising push?

Soulafa: All they need to do is go to our website and make a donation. Select the Staff Appreciation Fund, and in the memo list Meals Program as where they’d like the money to go.

Rob: Is there a deadline for when you would like to have all the donations in so you can figure things out?

Soulafa: The sooner, the better, but we are very conscious it is a tough year for everyone. So whenever people are able to give, even if it’s smaller amounts, we’d be very, very grateful.

Rob: You’ve dedicated yourself to really supporting our local hospital and healthcare system with this pandemic over the last few months. Has this reinforced the importance of what you do?

Soulafa: Absolutely. The response from the community and the outreach has been overwhelming to the Foundation and to the hospital staff. Every day there is a story that warms the heart that we’ve been sharing on our social media channels. Everyone has definitely seen the value of healthcare system and they’re very grateful for it. It’s been very beautiful to watch and experience and share those stories.

Filed under: Canmore, Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation, covid-19