kanto by tita flips

Toronto Filipino restaurant is feeding healthcare workers with free meals

Diona Joyce is the owner of Filipino street food restaurant Kanto by Tita Flips. While her storefront is closed for the duration of the pandemic, Joyce is busy making deliveries not just to hungry customers, but also to hospitals.

When I called her, she was in her car after completing a delivery to a someone's home. “Today is a bit crazy,” she said, then corrected herself. “Every day is crazy, anyway, nothing's normal.”

At the end of March, Joyced pitched an idea to non-profit organization Adhika, which works to raise awareness, pride, and resources for Filipino-Canadian communities.

Together, they launched a campaign called Feed the Frontline, which hopes to deliver meals to frontline workers throughout the GTA.

For every $5 raised, Feed the Frontline will be able to deliver one meal to a frontline worker.

Kanto and Adhika have also each pledged to match the first $500 raised for a combined $1000, meaning that the first 200 meals delivered will be shouldered by the restaurant and the organization.

Nora Angeles is the Chairperson at Adhika. Angeles says they have raised $3,000 to date. So far, 523 meals have been delivered by Joyce and Adhika.

Delivery times are coordinated through Adhika and each hospital, and sanitary measures are taken that adhere to each hospital’s recommendations.

Adhika and Kanto are appealing to the public for more donations that can be made either through their Facebook page or their site directly. Kanto has also been putting up posts on its Instagram asking for donations.

It all began when Joyce decided she wanted to deliver fresh and healthy meals from her restaurant to frontline healthcare workers in the GTA — meals that were filling and satisfying. So she reached out to Angeles and made it happen, launching the fundraiser on March 31.

Angeles says that Joyce called her on March 26 with the idea, and “within five days she [Joyce] started making deliveries.”

“We get in contact with different hospitals and they send me the request [saying how many meals they need for the day and] we cook and deliver for them,” Joyce said.

She is short staffed and, according to Angeles, plays a big part in preparing the meals and performing the deliveries herself.

“The people [Joyce and her team have] delivered to are people from the ICU unit and people who are also lab technicians who are screening the tests,” Angeles said.

“Sometimes they don't get breaks because the work is enormous. And then of course some cafeterias in hospitals are also closed.”

Kanto is located at Bathurst and Dundas, across from the Toronto Western Hospital. Joyce noticed that a lot of healthcare workers would come to the restaurant saying, “we want some rice,” she said.

“When we came up with the idea [it had to be] a meal with rice,” Joyce said. “There's protein and a little bit of veggies, in a very comforting meal,” she said.

Joyce realized that frontline workers needed more than a snack. “You can see their faces, they're very tired,” she said.

“I wish I could do more,” Joyce says. “When you bring something not like the usual or something out of the ordinary, you see their faces, like ‘Thank you,’ that is priceless,” she said. This is what makes it worth it for her, she says.

“There are days that [Joyce] cries because she has no staff and she has to deliver like 50 [meals] at nine o'clock,” Angeles said. “She's jack of all trades, because she has to cook [the meals], pack them and then deliver them.”

We're working hard with Adhika Canada to show our appreciation to frontline healthcare workers for everything they do for us, day in and day out. We delivered 100 hot meals to @providencehealthcareto and another 30 to @sunnybrookhsc’s COVID unit to try to raise spirits and comfort the soul. We know just how much a comforting meal can help during stressful, challenging, and emotional times ❤️⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ If you want to show your appreciation, visit Adhika's page and make a contribution to the #feedthefrontlineto campaign. Every $5 = 1 meal for a frontline worker ⁣ ⁣ https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/adhika-philippine-development-concerns/⁣ ⁣ #covid19 #weareinthistogether . . . . . . #supporthealthcareworkers #frontline #healthcare #healthcareprofessional #healthcareworker #thankshealthheroes #washyourhands #stayhome #socialdistancing

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Angeles says that they add a few extra meals to each order for the cleaning staff, as well. “I don't know that cleaners are getting enough recognition for what they do exactly,” she said.

Joyce and her team, Angeles says, are working very hard, and they haven’t had a break since the initiative began.

Please help me share the message of gratitude and solidarity. Let’s do something nice today. Together we are stronger 💪🏼❤️ #FeedTheFrontlineTO⁣ #healthcareheroes ⁣⁣ You can contribute to the campaign by one of three ways: 👇👇👇⁣⁣ ⁣ 1. Donating directly through facebook⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣ 2. Donating through Adhika's Canada Helps page ⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣ 3. Sending a cheque to:⁣⁣⁣⁣ Adhika Philippine Development Concerns⁣⁣⁣⁣ Unit 1610, 21 Iceboat Terrace⁣⁣⁣⁣ Toronto, Ontario⁣⁣⁣⁣ M5V4A9⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣ ⁣⁣Charitable receipts will be provided for all contributions over $10.⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ Visit adhika.org or https://youtu.be/aNJ7LvMKdqA for more details⁣⁣ ❤️

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Joyce acknowledges she and her team and Adhika are doing a lot of work, but at the same time, she says, it’s nothing compared to what the frontline workers are doing. “Thank you, thank you so much,” she wants to say to them.

“This is the least we can do for them,” Joyce said. “You know, to brighten up their day some way, somehow. Just one meal [makes] a big difference.”

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