Some of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s front-line workers got an extra special delivery from the town’s volunteer firefighters on Saturday — chocolate bunnies.
The gesture was co-ordinated by the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Outlet Collection at Niagara, to help make good use of an abundance of Easter chocolate bunnies from Lindt and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory that would otherwise have gone to waste.
The bunnies were delivered by Niagara-on-the-Lake firefighters Brad Disher and Colin Hunter to paramedics, firefighters, pharmacies and grocery store workers across town, and a few places in Niagara Falls. NOTL farmers were also given chocolate for their farm workers, many of whom are still in isolation since arriving in Canada.
Farmers from across Niagara started out the morning by picking up some bunnies at the Virgil fire station. It was a parking lot stakeout, with Nickel Farms, Wiens Farms, Hunter Farms, Van de Laar Vineyards, Froese Farms, Chateau des Charmes and more loading up on chocolate.
After that, Disher and Hunter headed across town to personally deliver the bunnies.
Disher said Lauren Kruitbosch, the town’s community engagement co-ordinator, was the “quarterback” on getting things arranged.
He said it was nice to get out and do something good for people in the community during these tough times.
“Any time we get a chance to go and help the community, we usually jump at the chance,” Disher said.
Brad Nickel, owner of Nickel Farms, was appreciative of the gesture. He has several farm workers in isolation and the chocolate will make them “really feel appreciated and welcomed to Canada,” he said.
Coun. Erwin Wiens thanked Lindt and Rocky Mountain for the chocolate, and praised the community for its "awesome" coming together during the pandemic.
“ People are getting to a point now where they’re saying, ‘I’m going to work together as a community,’ ” he said. “I hate this pandemic like the next guy, but is not everybody pulling together? It brings a tear to your eye,” he said.
Joanne Ross, general manager of the Outlet Collection, said the morning was all about spreading some good cheer.
“We had two retailers sitting on just an excess amount of chocolate. And I made some calls to both Lindt and Rocky Mountain to see what we can do to spread some good cheer to the community. And we put together a whole list of charities and food banks,” Ross said.
“A special thanks to the Niagara fire department as well and the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake for all of their help and assistance in making this happen. It literally came together in 24 hours.”
She said in total there were about 2,300 chocolates delivered.
Stores that received chocolates for their staff and families included Phil’s and Hendriks’ Valu-marts, Stone Road Pharmacy, Simpson’s Pharmasave and Harvest Barn.