Local restaurant serves up kindness at another school with Christmas lunch
Gregory Aboukheir delivers meals and gifts to children at Dr. F.J. McDonald Catholic School in Ottawa. Dec. 15, 2020. (Jim O'Grady / CTV News Ottawa)
OTTAWA -- More students in Ottawa were treated to Christmas turkey and a surprise Tuesday, thanks to a local restaurant owner.
140 students at Dr. F.J. McDonald Catholic School took part in their Christmas tradition, and all of them were treated to a $15 McDonalds gift card, courtesy of Gregory Aboukheir of Reynolds Restaurant.
Last Friday, Aboukheir surprised students at St. Elizabeth School when he covered the cost of their catered Christmas lunch and gave a McDonalds gift card to each of the students. His restaurant did its own fundraising to purchase the gift cards and, when he ended up raising more than the $5,000 needed for that school, he decided to surprise another one.
“If feels actually really good, if feels fantastic; I think it feels a little better when you actually drop off the food, especially seeing them all outside and excited. It’s a great feeling, just knowing they’re happy,” Aboukheir told CTV News Ottawa as he dropped the food off on Tuesday.
The school’s principal, Cindy Bissonnette, says the Christmas lunch means so much to the children.
“For some of our families, they don’t have the opportunity to have turkey meals. This is a really nice way for us to come together as a community.”
Bissonnette says that the high school students in a hospitality program at Notre Dame High School normally provide the meal but, because of COVID-19 restrictions, that wasn’t possible this year.
“It’s been a challenging start-up to the (school) year. We’ve had a number of special activities that we can’t go through with this holiday season, so it’s really nice to be able to bring that meal in to them,” Bissonnette said.