It all started with a resident revolt about … well … pyrohy

Residents of St. Michael’s Millennium Pavilion in Edmonton started a bit of a revolt in 1990 when they discovered the Ukrainian pyrohy and cabbage rolls served in the facility’s kitchen weren’t quite up to snuff.  So being hard-working, pragmatic seniors, they did what they knew how to do: rolled up their sleeves and set up their own Ukrainian food production line. As they cooked, rolled and stuff their way into the hearts of residents at St. Michael’s long-term care and lodge facilities, word soon got out, and area families, friends and staff began placing orders for the hand-made delicacies.

Once the kitchen babas had made enough money to furnish their social room (end goal achieved) and buy a few extra amenities for residents, they planned to shut down production. However, revolt #2 quickly ensued (larger and more fierce) as residents realized their beloved home-cooked foods were soon to disappear. So the babas got back to work … the kitchen was expanded … and the rest is history.

30-some years later, demand from local grocers, catering companies and restaurants has soared to more than three million pyrohy annually. Baba’s Own Ukrainian Food has now expanded to include several product lines — with proceeds supporting enhanced programs and services for residents.

Nothing like a few angry babas to make an entire Ukrainian care community feel right at home.

A Christian Chinese smorgasbord every week

What do you do when your Chinese, Mandarin-speaking grandmother needs care … and the only local care homes have English speaking staff and serve egg salad sandwiches for lunch?

That was the dilemma of a group of Chinese Calgarians in 1996 who found themselves with nowhere to house their aging family members. So they worked tirelessly to set up Wing Kei Villa in a wing of an established long-term care home and, by 2005, had enough demand and community support to construct a permanent, stand-alone facility. Wing Kei continues to expand today with new facilities and levels of care, an adult day program, and even day care services for staff working in its facilities.  

Most of the care home’s staff are multi-lingual in Mandarin, Cantonese, English and other languages. And no egg salad sandwiches for these residents: Wing Kei offers dozens of ethnic food options including fungi on fried tofu and seven different types of congee.

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