Everbean Cafe owner Jessie Chou makes a coffee at her South Surrey shop. As a way to thank health-care workers during the COVID-19 crisis, the coffee shop has organized a campaign to provide them coffee and food through gift-card contributions. (Contributed photo)

South Surrey coffee shops sets up gift-card campaign to thank health-care workers

‘We want to contribute the best way we know how,” says Everbean Cafe owner

The owners of a South Surrey coffee shop are doing what they can to show appreciation for Semiahmoo Peninsula heath-care workers.

Though foot traffic may have slowed at The Everbean Cafe (#106 15331 16 Ave.) due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis – which has seen businesses, especially those in the food industry, either limit service or close entirely – owners Jessie Chou and Chris Barber have decided to stay busy by lending a hand to some of their best customers: the health-care workers at both the Hilltop Medical Clinic and Peace Arch Hospital.

The coffee shop, which is located in the lobby of the Abby Lane Health Centre and near other health-care buildings such as LifeLab and Rexall Pharmacy, has set up two ongoing gift cards – one each for staff at Hilltop and PAH – and local residents who wish to buy employees a coffee or a bite to eat are encouraged to donate to the accounts.

“Our thoughts were simple – during uncertain times like this, all of us can only thrive, or survive, on the kindness we have for one another,” Chou told Peace Arch News, adding that only she and her husband are currently working in-store, while a third employee has been working from home, tasked with making improvements to the cafe’s website.

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In the interest of social-distancing, contributions to either gift card can be made by calling the cafe at 604-531-3383 and providing a credit-card number, or an e-transfer can be sent to helloeverbean@gmail.com. Alternatively, customers picking up any take-away orders are also able to add to either account in person.

Chou notes that, in the interest of full transparency, each transaction will be documented and the ongoing total announced each afternoon. Once the collected balance reaches $100 or more, the funds will be used to purchase coffee, pastries and sandwiches, and scheduled drop-offs to Peace Arch Hospital and Hilltop Medical Centre will be made. Upon completion of delivery, a news release notes, “we will post a receipt to social media to show how the collected funds were spent.”

As well, if anyone wishes to send a drink or food item to a specific doctor, nurse, pharmacist or other staff member working within the Abby Lane Health Care building, separate transactions and deliveries can be arranged, the release notes.

Chou said the idea for the gift cards came about recently, once the usual crowd of walk-up customers started to dry up as people began self-isolating at home – “Which we commend and encourage whole-heartedly,” she added.

Last week, however, several doctors working in the building arrived to load up their own personal gift cards, “to help keep our small business going.”

“Several of them bought their colleagues coffee, and encouraged others to purchase food and drinks from our little cafe,” Chou said.

Throughout the week, other health-care workers, doctors, and a few regulars still stopped buy for take-out orders or to stock up on coffee beans and tea for their homes. Some, Chou noted, simply came by “to wave hello from a distance.”

After such an outpouring of support, Chou and Barber thought they would return the favour.

For more information on the campaign, visit www.everbeancafe.com/givethanks

As well, Chou noted that by trying to contribute something positive by doing what they do well – making coffee and and food – it gives her and Barber a way to “be productive and contribute something… in order to maintain our sanity and keep our anxiety in check.”

“We are in this together and we want to contribute the best way we know how,” a message on the website reads.



editorial@peacearchnews.com

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