A lunch of fish and chips was served up to residents of the Rev. W.J Phillips Residence thanks to Transportation West on April 24.
“This is amazing,” said Sherry Tremblay, operations manager for Transportation West. “This is always what I wanted to do, is help our community. We live in an amazing community.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the non-profit organization had applied for a grant from the federal New Horizon Seniors Program, which they got and used for a weekly lunch program to take seniors out to different restaurants in the West Prince area.
When the pandemic shut everything down, Transportation West still had funds from that grant remaining.
“New Horizon was amazing in allowing me to extend the grant, because it was supposed to be used last year, but due to COVID-19 they extended it until the end of April this year,” explained Ms Tremblay.
Ms Tremblay decided since they couldn’t take seniors to lunch they would take the lunch to the seniors.
They hired Up West Fire Fries to cater to the residents, with the food truck parked in the parking lot of the Phillips Residence on Saturday. Owners Kelly and Doug Wilson, along with helper Darlene Peters, were cooking up a storm while staff carried the prepared lunches inside and served them to the awaiting residents. Even Egmont MP Bobby Morrissey was on hand to help with the lunch service.
Sixty meals of fish and chips, along with 10 orders of chicken and fries, were cooked up for the lunchtime treat.
Ms Tremblay added a few of those meals were delivered to seniors living throughout the region who were part of the initial lunch program.
The dining area of the Phillips Residence smelled deliciously like a British pub - minus the alcoholic beverages. Staff decorated the space in a British theme, with cardboard double decker buses, telephone booths, British flags and photos of Queen Elizabeth and the late Prince Phillip.
The comments from the residents was the food delicious.
“Couldn’t be any better,” said Betty Wallace, who had the fish and chips.
“This was an incredible opportunity for the residents to have a treat,” said Colleen Parker, executive director for the Phillips Residence. “This was something we couldn’t do otherwise, especially to have the fire fries truck come, we wouldn’t been able to do that financially, so that’s very generous of them.”
Transportation West has been busy finding other ways to spend the remaining funding from the New Horizon grant. They’ve purchased books for both Phillips Residence, Tignish Seniors Home and the Ladyslipper Villa in O’Leary. Also for O’Leary, lunch was bought from the Maple House Bakery and the bakery catered to the Phillips Residence a few weeks ago. For St Patrick’s Day, they bought all the ingredients needed so the staff at Tignish Seniors Home could make the residents a Jiggs Dinner. Tablets have also been purchased to be donated to the three community care homes.
Finally, Transportation West has once again hired Up West Fire Fries to cater to the residents at Tignish Seniors Home on May 1.
“We had to think outside the box,” said Ms Tremblay. “We couldn’t stick with the original grant description, but New Horizon was so easy to work with and allowed me to change the grant any way we could.”