Cozy Café feeding front-line workers


PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO

While continuing to prepare pick-up and takeout meals for their regular customers, Hudson’s Cozy Café co-owners Christine Booth (left) and Jessika Ménard are making sure those taking care of vulnerable seniors get a special meal delivered to them a few times a week.

When Hudson’s popular Cozy Café restaurant closed its doors to walk-in traffic due to the COVID-19 outbreak, co-owner Jessika Ménard couldn’t help but notice the many seniors who live in the same condominium as her faced long line-ups at area grocery stores.

“I’m in the restaurant business,” she told The Journal. “I have access to food quickly.”

With help from industry her contacts, Ménard was able to set up a food distribution system for her elderly neighbours in need and, as with most altruistic endeavours, the gesture grew in popularity, evolving along the way.

“A gentleman from Saint-Donat sent me a message and asked me to make a cake for his father, a resident at Le Languedoc.” Because of restrictions due to the virus, the son wasn’t able to be there in person. Ménard and Cozy Café co-owner Christine Booth offered to foot the bill and seeing photos of how pleased the senior was to receive the cake hatched an idea. The man’s son offered to pay it forward for a cake to be sent to another senior.

Ménard and Booth loved the idea but soon hit a roadblock – unless meals are individually portioned, facilities can’t always accommodate items that need to be cut and divided. Undaunted, and with community donations in hand, Ménard called a number of places before speaking with Manoir Harwood seniors’ facility who welcomed their offer to prepare meals for the frontline workers who are currently facing enormous challenges in their jobs.

Though they can’t bring meals directly to the residents due to dietary restrictions, they’re not forgotten as Ménard, with a little help from her daughter Lyndsay-Rae Klaiman, sometimes prepares deliveries of fresh flowers or greeting cards for them.

The meals, ranging between 20 and 40 depending on the day and the shift, are made from ingredients paid for by ongoing donations from the community. The co-owners both prepare the meals and while Ménard handles the delivery details, Booth is still cooking in the café that remains open for pick-up and takeout orders.

Anyone who would like to donate to Cozy Café’s ongoing mission to bring a little relief (and a delicious meal) to some of the people doing the hardest work during this pandemic can contact Ménard at jessika@lecozycafe.com.

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