Health workers in Rankin Inlet received a pleasant surprise when free meals were delivered to their place of work to thank them for their efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic in Rankin Inlet on Nov. 18.
The meals were prepared and delivered through a partnership between Slapshot Canteen owner Chadd Burrill and committee members for the Terence Tootoo Memorial senior men’s hockey championship.
Burrill said he was approached by committee member Troy Aksalnik this past week to cook lunch for the community’s health-care workers.
He said even though it was extremely short notice, he felt it was really important to show the workers how much the community appreciated their efforts.
“I recently had to lay off all my staff members, including my two main workers Tristan Sammurtok and Chris Markell, so I really wasn’t sure what direction I was going in with the canteen at the moment, with me the only one working,” said Burrill.
“Troy wanted a good, hearty, cooked meal for them, so I suggested lasagna with a salad, which I made totally fresh that day in time for lunch after coming in at six in the morning.
“I’m not a baker by any means, but I got fresh lasagna, Caesar salad, a banana cream crumble cake and a bottle of water ready for all of them by lunch, and committee members Troy (Aksalnik) and Hamish (Tatty) came, picked them up and delivered them to the health-care workers.
“I can’t really remember how many they delivered, but somewhere around 36 to 40, I believe.”
Burrill said as far as he knows, everything with the meal went extremely well.
He said Aksalnik told him all the health workers were very happy with the gesture, and they were all clapping and laughing when they brought the meals in.
“I had everything go out the door at 11:58 a.m., so we conquered,” said Burrill laughing.
“I felt so bad about laying-off my staff though. Tristan (Sammurtok) is just the best, you know, but she’s also pregnant and I didn’t want to risk her getting sick here, even though we were very, very short-staffed already.
“I told her I appreciated everything she did throughout the entire year at the canteen here with me and that, once things get better, she can always come back here if she wants to.
“I just didn’t want any of my employees getting sick while here at work because I would have carried that guilt around with me forever.”
Burrill said he reopened the Slapshot Canteen this past Friday, working the kitchen by himself.
He said he’s only allowing 10 people in line to pick-up their orders at any one time.
“What I’m going to do is have people call in their order, I’ll give them their total and then they can (email money transfer) the funds to email@example.com.
“That’s an automatic deposit account, so once I receive their funds, I’ll cook their meal, call them when it’s ready, and they can just come in, pick it up and go.
“That’s way nobody’s waiting in line to use the debit machine or anything like that.
“This is the only income I have, so I have to be open, but I don’t want to put anyone in harm’s way, especially my staff and customers who have all been so good to me.”