Generosity and community spirit have been part of Queen’s Cafe’s business ethos since the east-end restaurant opened in 2018.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, owners Tammy Hsieh and Rob Hill have used proceeds from their Easter food sales to purchase over $4,000 worth of personal protective equipment for the Guelph General Hospital.
At the outset of the pandemic and throughout its course, reports from hospitals and health care centres across the country have indicated a critical shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff. The GGH has been posting daily updates on its website outlining its response to COVID-19 and their work with PPE supply companies to expedite deliveries. In Guelph, various community-led initiatives to scale-up production and delivery of critical supplies and equipment have boosted both the provincial and federal governments’ efforts.
Thanks to a connection in her native Taiwan with the manufacturer Blue Eagle Safety, Hsieh ordered 180 pairs of protective goggles. The company is certified to Canadian standards and sells its products to over 100 countries around the world. Hsieh contacted the Foundation of Guelph General Hospital to ensure the equipment was needed and that it met hospital standards.
“I sent them the photos and the website link … [and they] said yes, they will use that and they're going to take it,” she said.
While Hsieh and Hill fronted some of the money out of pocket, the majority of the funds used to purchase the equipment was from their Good Friday food sales of halibut and chips.
“We want to thank those [customers] ... they are part of this too,” said Hsieh. “We used that money to purchase [the PPE] so they are even part of this donation. I want everybody to feel good about that.”
It’s not the first time the couple has given back to the community whom they say has supported them so generously over the last year and a half. In October, with the help of other local businesses and volunteers, Queen’s Cafe served a free Thanksgiving dinner to over 100 people in need. Hsieh says they plan to make it an annual event.
“The Thanksgiving dinner is going to be our tradition,” said Hsieh. “This is our small way to give back. We’re not just in the business of making money, it’s also about treating people right and giving back to the community.”
Hsieh says business has been good, despite being forced to restrict their services to take out and delivery only. She says they’re grateful to be able to keep their serving staff to provide delivery services.
The goggles were delivered to the hospital on May 15.
For more information about donating to the GGH and its response to COVID-19, visit their website.