Feb. 16, 2023

Saskatoon doctors supporting the community

Twenty Saskatoon physicians – along with family and friends, and SMA chief executive officer Bonnie Brossart – recently prepared and served more than 800 bowls of chili as part of the Friendship Inn’s annual Love Your Neighbor Chili Cook-Off, sponsored by the Saskatoon Medical Staff Association (SMSA) along with others.

SMA vice-president Dr. Annette Epp led the effort again this year. “It was an amazing event!” said Dr. Epp. “The place was humming – many families came out to eat.” Kids decorated Valentine’s cookies and every guest got a Valentine note handwritten by participating members of the SMSA.

Sandra Kary, executive director of the Friendship Inn, said the Love Your Neighbour Chili Cook-off is a perfect way for the physician community to connect with the Friendship Inn and partner with them to serve neighbours in need. “Watching the camaraderie and friendly competition between the teams in the kitchen, and then seeing them come together to share their secret recipe chilis with our guests really demonstrates the caring spirit and big hearts of each participating physician,” said Kary. “The event is one of our favourite annual traditions here at the Friendship Inn.”

After serving breakfast to 400 guests on Sunday, Feb. 12, teams of physicians rolled up their sleeves and got to work preparing chili for lunch. Their culinary creations were then judged by Friendship Inn guests. Voting was tight, but the team “Just Chillin” – captained by Dr. Janet Shannon – won…for the 3rd time! Her secret? A vegetable chopper.

“I am so grateful to all the people who came out to help,” says Dr. Epp. “I think we all got as much out of the experience as the patrons did. It feels so good to give back the community. We all bonded over the experience and it was fun to visit outside of our work environment.”

Kary said every meal makes a difference in the lives of their guests. “We know there are many vulnerable people in the community who rely on our daily Free Meal Service to receive a hot, nutritious meal,” said Kary. “In recent weeks, we’ve certainly seen daily meal counts trending upwards, so donated food and financial resources, as well as volunteer time, are crucial to keep the Inn cooking.”

While it’s great that Saskatoon physicians can help out in this way, says Dr. Epp, “…it’s pretty sobering to think that the Friendship Inn is providing 1200 meals a day in the city. Food insecurity and poverty are growing at an alarming rate and demand our collective action working across sectors.”

I think we all got as much out of the experience as the patrons did. It feels so good to give back the community.

Dr. Annette Epp

Recent Posts

Follow us for all the latest updates