As the hockey community and world at large continues to grapple with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Montreal Canadiens defenceman Jeff Petry and his wife, Julie, are giving back to hospital workers who are on the front lines of trying to stop the virus.
In an Instagram post, the Petrys announced they would be opening up $2,500 tabs at two local Montreal restaurants, Mandy’s Gourmet Salads and Notre-Boeuf-De-Grâce, to provide free meals to hospital workers when they show their hospital IDs.
“These people are dealing with so much more,” Julie told NHL.com. “They’re changing in their garages when they get home from their middle-of-the-night shifts and doing their laundry at three in the morning so they don’t infect their house,” said Julie. “And then they’re dealing with all the other stresses that come with this, like do they have enough groceries? What are their kids doing?
“Our message to them would be to just know that everyone is thinking about them and we appreciate what they’re doing. Even though there’s nothing we can actually do besides stay in our houses and follow the guidelines, this was one small thing we could do to say, ‘We notice you. We appreciate you. Thank you. Go have dinner or lunch on us.'”
The idea to set up meal tabs began to take shape last week. Jeff and Julie were in Michigan and recalled Matt Stafford — who plays for the Detroit Lions — and his wife, Kelly, setting up a similar initiative, wherein the Staffords created a line of credit at restaurants nearby four hospitals for employees to get takeout meals after work.
Upon hearing that Dr. Dan Deckelbaum, one of the Canadiens’ team physicians, was part of the COVID-19 leadership response team at Montreal General Hospital, they put the plan into action.
“To hear he’s heading it all up, we were just blown away,” Julie said. “He’s been so great to us. We had just seen this initiative from the Staffords and thought it would make perfect sense for us to do for the staff back in Montreal.”
The Petrys’ initiative will not only provide meals to essential, front-line hospital staff, but will also give a much-needed boost to local restaurants who have been impacted by the necessary social distancing measures put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19.
There are plans currently in the works to expand the food tab to a third restaurant with a similar program once it reopens.
“Julie and I are constantly thinking of all those on the front lines helping take care of others during this unthinkable time all over the world, but especially back in Montreal,” Jeff said on Instagram. “The around the clock hours they are working to help fight this crazy virus is nothing short of heroic.
“I’m sure they would say, ‘I’m just doing my job,’ but to us it’s more than that. These selfless individuals are not only putting themselves at risk, but are also dealing with the same stresses that come along with these circumstances when they go home. We want them to know we are thinking of them and supporting them.”