The owner of a Sardis pizza restaurant has once again brought food and smiles to a group of seniors.
Lucyanne Carruthers, who owns Panago Pizza on Promontory Road, gave 35 pizzas to the residents and staff at Heritage Village on Friday, Dec. 4.
But it’s not the first time she’s given them pizzas for free. In fact, she’s done it dozens of times.
About 10 years ago, Carruthers approached the long-term care home asking if she and her staff could come and make pizzas for the residents and staff.
“Half way through her introduction all I saw were dollar signs thinking this was kind, but very expensive, and was preparing to thank her and decline,” said Kevin Davey, clinical recreation supervisor at Heritage Village. “Then she surprised me to say she was offering the whole thing for free.”
Her idea was to bring the ingredients and supplies into Heritage Village, have a “big show” for the seniors and give them a free pizza lunch.
Davey thought it was a fantastic idea.
Soon after that conversation, Carruthers and her team came into the care home and started flipping dough and making pizzas in front of the residents and staff. They baked them right there in the kitchen and lunch was served.
Carruthers has a soft spot in her heart for people who live in care homes. Both her mother and sister lived in two separate homes in Surrey and Delta and she would visit them every day.
She could see how lonely and sad some of the residents were and wanted to give them some form of entertainment.
Carruthers initially brought the in-residence pizza making to her mother and sister’s homes, and when they passed away 10 years ago, she wanted to continue on in Chilliwack.
“It’s a lot of fun,” she said.
Since that initial conversation with Davey 10 years ago, Carruthers has visited at least twice a year to give pizza to the folks at Heritage Village.
Then the pandemic hit.
“Recently, with COVID-19 precautions, we were unable to bring in her team to do pizzas but she still found a way,” Davey said.
Instead of making the pizzas at the care facility, she made them at the pizzeria and then delivered them. Carruthers did this every Monday through September and into October for the residents.
She’s given back to the community a lot over the years. Carruthers donates money for high school bursaries, the BC Professional Firefighters Burn Fund, local legions and hands out pizza to people on the street.
To thank Carruthers for her generosity, Davey would often buy pizzas for special events over the years at Heritage Village.
Right now there’s a friendly Christmas decorating competition going on throughout the “neighbourhoods” at Heritage Village with the prize being a pizza party for the winning neighbourhood.
Since Carruthers had just given pizzas to the staff and resident only a couple of months prior, Davey figured he’d be purchasing the pizzas this time.
“But Lucyanne was so inspired by our staff and their creativity in decorating that she again offered all the pizzas for free,” he said. “Now we are able to reward all the staff and residents who did such a great job of decorating for the holidays during the trying times of a COVID Christmas.”
On Friday (Dec. 4) Carruthers helped Davey load up 35 pizzas into his vehicle to bring back to the long-term care home.
She has “given so much to our staff and residents while asking nothing in return,” Davey said.
Carruthers says giving back is essential to help build community.
“The community supports us. It’s a beautiful city, I like the people,” she said. “We have to give back, we have to support the less fortunate and bring our community together with spirit.”