The Canberra community has rallied together to support the Territory’s health care workers, with close to 3,700 donations made through the Canberra Hospital Foundation’s #CHFCareShare campaign.
A range of businesses and individuals have made donations to be distributed to nurses, doctors, allied health professionals, security teams, cleaning staff and administrators.
Despite hospitality being one of the hardest hit industries during the pandemic, family-run Indian restaurant Daana managed to donate 150 meals to the cause.
Daana co-owner and chef Sanjay Kumar said while the restaurant has seen a tough time, they still felt it was important to give back.
“The basic philosophy of Daana and the meaning of the name is the spirt of generosity,” he said.
“We make sure we live up to that name and ethos no matter how challenging a time we are going through.
“We knew it would be hard for us but if everyone thinks it’s too hard a time, then no one would come forward.”
The restaurant received details from the campaign manager each week, with details of how many people were in the unit they would be cooking for and any dietary requirements they might have.
“The number of people differed based on the unit, so I think the biggest one we did was 40 and the smallest was for 15,” Mr Kumar said.
Canberra Health Services COVID-19 Response Plan Project manager, Nadia Burkolter, said she was privileged to be involved in the campaign.
“I thought it was really overwhelming actually. I’m a nurse by background. I have never experienced that level of kindness,” she said.
“The community were showing their gratitude. I spoke to a lot of the donors and they felt almost helpless and thought it would be nice to give back.”
Along with the meals from Daana, many of the donations included self-care pamper packages, chocolates, fresh fruit and handmade cards.
Ms Burkolter said like herself, many of the hospital staff were overwhelmed by the generosity of the Canberra community.
“The staff were anxious. They are happy to help our community by turning up, doing the right things and potentially exposing themselves and their families to this virus,” she said. “Then receiving these gifts, I think they felt valued, they were grateful for the recognition of the hard work.”
Mr Kumar said it was the least the community could do.
“Health care professionals have really long hours and shifts; they are always on the move and the amount of effort they have put into taking care of us is amazing.”