While the Edmundston region grapples with the bulk of the New Brunswick’s COVID-19 cases, including at several care homes, people are answering the call for help.
Eric Marquis, Edmundston’s deputy mayor, says his wife’s grandmother is at one of the care homes with COVID-19 cases.
“Things are pretty difficult because some people don’t understand what is going (on) there, they’ve been in their rooms for two weeks… some even more,” Marquis tells Global News.
“At least in 2021, we have FaceTime and we have computers for actually being able to speak to the residents that are there; that’s what we’re doing on our side also.”
But during the difficult times, people from “all four corners” of New Brunswick are answering the call for help.
“We’ve even had some help coming from Nova Scotia,” Marquis says. And while many of those people are from across the health-care sector, others are not. Civil servant government employees are also arriving to do whatever they can to help.
Culinary arts students at Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick in Edmundston are stepping up to the plate to help, too. On Monday, they started making 400 meals per day for people living at Manoir Belle Vue, a special care home in the city.
It’s a small team producing a large amount of food to help keep people fed.
“We divided the 20 students into two teams,” says Chef Sylvain Boucher, a CCNB instructor.
“Two six-hour shifts basically per day. One starts at 6:00 a.m. (and) ends at noon. The other one starts at 11:00 a.m. and basically finishes around 5, or 5:30 p.m.”
They’ve since agreed to make an additional 230 meals daily, totalling 630 per day, to help out the Villa des Jardins nursing home.
“The first days were a lot of work,” says Joanie Sivret, a first-year student. “But like the next couple of days have been going really well because we have kind of more of a routine now, so it’s going more smoothly.”
“The recipes… They’re multiplied by so much,” she says.
Not only are they helping their community, the students are also preparing for their careers.
“We do the same things they would do in a restaurant or catering business,” says Chef Boucher. “It means a lot. I’m very proud of them.”
And it’s also making for a rewarding task during otherwise gloomy days, living in lockdown.
“Lockdown is not that fun,” Sivret admits. But she says cooking has helped make things better “because we’re getting out of the house.”
“It’s a nice feeling because you know you’re doing something nice and you’re helping out,” she says. “It’s a really nice feeling.”