In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jolly Bedi is making a difference, one pita at a time.
Everyday, the owner of the Pita Pit on Silvercreek Parkway in Guelph, opens her shop and on her own, begins making pitas to be delivered to essential workers in the community.
“With everything happening right now I knew I couldn’t just sit and do nothing. And making pitas, this is what I do, and I knew I could do it do it safely and at a distance,” Bedi says.
“It really makes me think when I go the grocery store or to the pharmacy. I see these people going out of their way and risking themselves. It just brings me to tears. So, bringing them pitas, to see them smile, it makes it all worth it for me.”
Bedi began her deliveries on March 15, just before her store officially closed due to the pandemic.
“When I closed the store, I just continued to work on my own. I tell everyone that I will not touch anything, I will just drop a meal off for them.”
And each new each day, brings another delivery to a new front-line service.
“I’ve just been telling people, let me know if anyone around you needs help,” Bedi said.
Her deliveries have been made to a variety of businesses and organizations including the Drop-In Centre, the Ontario Provincial Police, Norfolk Manor, Eden House, various grocery stores, community centres and pharmacies.
A recent drop-off was made to Guelph Medical Place Pharmacy. Workers were overjoyed saying that Bedi really made their day.
The first delivery was to Dixon Distilled Spirits who have recently moved from producing alcohol to making hand sanitizer.
“There were 10 people working at the distillery day and night and they were so happy to see a platter of pitas,” Bedi said.
“And I just recently delivered pitas in Kitchener. Someone from a retirement home reached out to me saying that they were going through tough times. I asked her how many people there were and then I just opened the store and began making pitas.”
For Bedi, as a Sikh Canadian, she says it is her duty to help her community in Guelph especially during the pandemic.
“I came to Canada in 1995. The community here is so amazing. They have given me so much love and support over the years, I just want to give back. What I have received from the Guelph community is nowhere near what I am doing right now,” she said.
“These have become my people and they are full of so much love.”
Bedi is also a school board trustee and has recently become a financial advisor.
“I went back to school and my family always said I could do it. They are so happy and encouraging and now, I am a financial advisor. It’s always been in my heart to keep educating myself,” she said.
As the mother of two teenage daughters, Bedi also continues to hold a fundraiser every year with the Guelph Punjabi Cultural Group.
“Along with my sister and friends, we bring women out to a community event every year. It is a dinner and dance and funds raised have supported Guelph General Hospital, the Food Bank and other organizations. It’s a way to connect with the community and give back after living here all these years,” Bedi said.
“There are so many people who do so many things in this community and it has really moved me over the years. This community has so many gems. They feel that have a duty and I feel that right now, this is mine.”
For Bedi, keeping the community connected is more important than ever as people continue to practice social distancing.
“I’m safe in my store and on my own and I want to continue making and delivering pitas to those who need them. It just gives me a feeling of satisfaction when you look around, reach out and see them smile,” Bedi says.
“Thank you to all of our front-line workers. Thank you for all that you do. We will all come out of this, together.”