A familiar Yorkville hotel has taken hospitality to a new level during COVID-19 by providing front-line workers with meals that can fuel their long and hard days. This week we spoke to Hani Roustom, the Managing Director of The Hazelton Hotel in Toronto, on how they’re helping during the pandemic.
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.
The #HazeltonCares initiative was created by The Hazelton Hotel as a result of COVID-19. This initiative provides frontline workers and those in-need with healthy, hearty meals created by the hotel’s ONE Restaurant. This initiative helps support both local causes and charities in addition to frontline workers who are risking their lives to help fight the pandemic.
What problem does it aim to solve?
COVID-19 has impacted everyone’s lives around the world, including those working on the frontline and those who are less fortunate. The #HazeltonCares initiative helps feed those in-need, whether they be community members who are donating their time and energy to support local initiatives or hospital workers. We know that preparing and have access to healthy, wholesome food during this time is difficult, which is why we decided to pivot our hotel’s offering and turn our kitchen into a space where we can produce as many meals as possible to members of our community.
When did you start/join it?
This initiative came about in the weeks following our hotel’s regular operations were suspended towards the end of March.
What made you want to get involved?
Working in the hotel industry, we know well that hospitality is about genuine care not only for the guests but also for our city’s community. Seeing and experiencing the impact of the virus compelled our team to get involved and give back where we can. Our team quickly came together to create a food distribution strategy to neighbouring organizations that needed food aid. We’re fortunate that we’re able to make great use of ONE Restaurant’s kitchen to create the meals. It’s our way of showing that our team is committed to helping our city.
What was the situation like when you started?
As I’m sure many Torontonians would agree, the reality of the pandemic hit us pretty quickly. Our regular services were beginning to slow down and soon after, we were advised to suspend operations in order to ensure our staff and client’s health and safety.
How has it changed since?
The reality of the pandemic is difficult to come to terms with but the silver lining is that I’ve watched as our team has come together to ensure we’re giving back. Since we launched the #HazeltonCares initiative, we’ve been able to provide more then a 1000 meals, and this is just the beginning for us.
What more needs to be done?
Our goal as resources allow, is to continue to prepare meals to those who directly benefit. We’re looking outward to lend support to whoever is in need during this time. So far, we’ve provided meals to local churches and community centres, and shelters. Next we’d like to donate to hospital healthcare workers.
How can our readers help?
We’re grateful to anyone who will share our initiative through social media. It’s amazing to see how communities can come together via online communications, even when we’re forced to physically social distances. We’re welcoming any (food) donations to the hotel in order for our amazing chefs to make meals. We’ll also be starting a donation page where Torontonians can donate as much as they’re able to. We know this is a difficult time for all and would be grateful for any support our community is able to provide.
Where can we follow you?
You can follow us on Instagram @hazeltonTO and the #HazeltonCares hashtag!
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
We love the incredible work that SPRINT Senior Care is providing to Toronto elders across the city. SPRINT is a non-profit community support initiative that helps seniors in a variety of meaningful ways, including delivering healthy meals. We recently partnered with SPRINT to provide their frontline workers with lunch! They’re working around the clock and we wanted to show our thanks for all that they’re doing.