Ek's Grill starts up Sustain the Line Kelowna to feed frontliners

Sustaining the frontliners

A Kelowna local is hoping to start up Sustain the Line in the region - an initiative matching small food businesses struggling in the midst of COVID-19 with people who want to fund meals for frontline healthcare workers.

Chef Bill Justus of Ek’s Grill will be offering frontline workers free meals, and meals at 50 per cent off for their families so they're able to feed them at a reduced rate if they don’t have the energy to cook after a shift.

This includes doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters and emergency medical service personnel. 

"My daughter is a nurse, my neighbour is a nurse, I have a couple of friends who are physicians so I get all the struggles they’re in," says Justus.

"Sometimes it’s not about feeding them, it’s about feeding their family. I’ve got a friend who is a nurse and her husband is a police officer so at the end of a 15 hour shift for both of them, they still have to try and get enough energy to get home, pick up their two children and feed the family. That’s how it all started for me.”

He first heard about Sustain the Line on social media, and reached out to the Ontario base where it originated to enquire about the service.

Justus spent most of Monday on a bike training for IronMan, while on the phone with businesses and various medical connections to put the wheels in motion for Sustain the Line Kelowna. 

Within the last three days, Justus has received over $1,000 in donations from the community to help support the initiative.

He hopes that continues, and says he’s proud of the way the community is getting behind the initiative. 

"I guess it's a labour of love for me. My family has been in the restaurant business in this town for 35 years and I’ve been in this town for 25 years.

"Kelowna’s a great place and people want to help, so I’m just giving them the ability to do that. If you give them the ability, people reach out and make Kelowna shine like no other town I’ve ever been in."

If you'd like to support the initiative or register your interest as a frontline worker, call the restaurant at 250 862 2236 or email [email protected].

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