'Blessing bags' are finding their way to care home workers and teachers in one Manitoban community.
Heather Neufeld is the manager at Patio Grill in Grunthal, Man. It is a family-owned business. Neufeld's mother and father-in-law originally started the business.
Heather and her husband Rick were missionaries serving in Mozambique when they got called to return to Grunthal.
"We absolutely miss it every day but we know that God wanted us back here for a reason and the Patio Grill has become my ministry," she says.
After a regular customer messaged Neufeld saying they would like to bless a family in quarantine, it sparked a bigger concept for her.
"I thought, wow that's a great idea. Initially, I put it out on our social media saying 'Nominate someone and we'll match the donation'. So if someone donated a $50 pizza, then whoever nominated that person would receive a discount."
From the small idea sparked a thought of blessing an entire business.
"We ended up deciding to feed all the staff at the Menno home here in Grunthal. They have been really hard hit by COVID. At one point the positivity rate was 50% and the staff is dedicated and working so hard. We just wanted to bless them," she says.
People in the small community donate money to the restaurant and then Patio Grill makes the bulk meals and drops them off. The local lumber store got involved and sponsored the entire staff at the middle and high school.
"All day I've been fielding messages for donations. We're going to be feeding a couple more groups next week."
Being able to bless the school staff today with a hot meal and an encouraging note has been good, according to Neufeld.
"It's been amazing to see our community reach out. One of the teachers messaged me saying it brought tears to her eyes as she thanked me."
Normally the patio makes homemade burgers, fries, and chicken wings. With this initiative, they're doing something different.
"What we're doing for the blessing bags is each bag has a bowl of soup, a bun, homemade cookies, and crackers. One of the key things that is really important to us is that each bag has a little encouraging note on it," says Neufeld.
The staff member writing the notes is filled with encouragement herself.
"We bless other people and we are blessed in return. That's what God calls us to do."