Last spring, Lovie Rivard was in bed recovering from surgery. Aptly named, anyone who is familiar with this local event planner knows she has boundless energy and a huge heart. A self-described “very spiritual person“, on Good Friday 2020 when faced with a six-week recovery period, Rivard found herself wondering what she could do.
“I wanted to put some positive into this pandemic,” she said. “As usual I said my prayer in the morning. Then I grabbed my phone, went to Facebook . . . and I read this post from a nurse. Please can you send us some food. We’re at the Lakeshore General Hospital and we really don’t have any time to eat or prepare food.”
Rivard immediately called the Lakeshore COVID-19 unit and they connected her to the head nurse who said meals would be greatly appreciated.
“Right away I told my husband, ‘Let’s go get some food!’ We sent food for 50 people, for the day, evening and night shifts,” said Rivard, who lives in Pierrefonds.
The unit had her phone number and phoned to thank her, and they sent her photos.
“I thought it was a one-time thing,” noted Rivard. “I posted the photos on my personal Facebook page . . . and just like that people in restaurants wanted to help.”
That same day Rivard created a Facebook page and called it An Act of Love Feeding the Nursing Staff at the Lakeshore General Hospital.
Within days, individuals, organizations and restaurants responded to the call to feed frontline workers. There were so many people she was dispatching deliveries to the Lakeshore in Pointe-Claire and to several local CHSLDs as well.
“West Island people are so generous. Soon we had requests to send more than four donations a day and many wanted to send weekly,” said Rivard.
The list of restaurants and caterers, many of whom were struggling themselves, includes such West Island favourites as Wok Café, Spicy Grille, Spice Brothers, Côte St-Luc Bar-B-Q, Chenoy’s, Boustan West Island and Nonna’s Catering MTL.
“At one point Old Orchard Pub in Pointe-Claire Village wasn’t even open and they hired their staff to prepare weekly meals for 50 people. Another day each week, they made soup” said Rivard. “Wok Café was also preparing 50 individual boxes for workers weekly.”
Rivard has an abundance of stories about people going above and beyond throughout this past year. Pizza Pizza delivered at midnight to the night shift. A woman saw Rivard’s Facebook page and offered to help restaurants deliver the food. A young boy told his mother that he wanted meals delivered as his birthday present. His mother made home-cooked Indian food and Rivard organized delivery, and when the boy’s older brother had his birthday, he asked for the same gift. A group of women from the humanitarian organization Islamic Circle of North America got together to cook and donate meals. Two women gave meals each week for much of the last year, and the Kirkland Southwest Scouts baked 450 cookies during the school break.
Not limited to sending food, recently a 92-year-old woman passed away from COVID-19 and the family wanted to thank the social workers for their efforts at the Lakeshore.
“Their mom did Zoom calls, and social service had to stand holding tablets . . . so the family donated stands to make it easier for others in the future,” said Rivard.
This energetic event planner, who received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award for her longstanding volunteer efforts in 2012, says she is looking forward to the day when the pandemic has subsided to the point when she can help people safely celebrate. Optimistically, she has already started planning a parade.
On Tuesday, Rivard received a framed collage of photos from LGH staff to thank her for her Act of Love initiative.
Article Courtesy By: Montreal Gazelle