Operation Ramzieh partners with Bruyere, branches out to Toronto
People & Places

Operation Ramzieh partners with Bruyere, branches out to Toronto

Operation Ramzieh came together quickly in March when restaurateur Abbis Mahmoud saw the need to get food to elderly people and others who can’t easily and safely get to a grocery store during the pandemic. We first talked to Ilon Tyan of Mahmoud’s DreamMind restaurant group in the first week of the “operation” about their headquarters at The Waverly on Elgin Street, signing up volunteers by phone, and figuring out logitistics as they went along.

Related: Operation Ramzieh acts swiftly, with kindness, to deliver food to vulnerable people at home

Nearly three weeks later, the momentum behind Operation Ramzieh is only growing stronger.

First, the City of Ottawa donated space at Jack Purcell Community Centre (just a stone’s throw away from The Waverly). Soon after, a more formal partnership was forged with Élisabeth Bruyere Hospital, using the former nunnery space in the Byward Market. Plus, he notes, partnering with B allows people to get tax receipt.

To donate to Operation Ramzieh, visit their GoFundMe page.

“That was very exciting,” says Tyan. “It’s a much better space, and it’s bigger, so it’s easier to practice social distancing.”

The kitchen at Bruyere gives the team more space to organize donations and practice physical distancing

They’ve also connected with local tech company Klipfolio, who helped to improve their online registration forms and provided other online tools that help Tyan and this team organize efforts.

And now, they’re sharing what they know about food donations and volunteer coordination to help Torontonians stay healthy.

“We always had ties to the restaurant industry there,” explains Tyan, who paid a visit to Toronto and met with people looking to leverage those ties to address the needs of elderly and vulnerable. “It’s definitely a big city, you can feel it,” he says. “I think a lot of Torontonians were pretty moved by what we’re doing. We bring a big family vibe.”

Soon, Tyan and his team had developed a Toronto branch of Operation Ramzieh, using Old School on Dundas Street West to receive donations and assemble the food parcels. People in Ottawa and Toronto looking to donate, volunteer, or receive a box can do it all here: operationramzieh.org

A rep for Operation Ramzieh talks with media outside restaurant Old School, which is currently serving as the group’s Toronto headquarters

“The need is great,” says Tyan, “we’re running out of boxes, it’s hard for us to keep up.”

Boxes of produce and other food donation at Toronto’s Old School restaurant

Right now there are limits to the amount of volunteers they can accept, so Tyan is directing people to their GofundMe page. “If you’re not in a position to donate, just share it on social media.”

Interestingly, most donations to Operation Ramzieh are in the $30-100 range — “it’s the everyday person that’s helping!” notes Tyan. That said, many local businesses have made sizeable donations to the cause. Here’s a quick list — big thanks to the people backing Operation Ramzieh in whatever way they can.

Aike Aliferas — $1,000
Abbis Mahmoud — $55,000
MacLaren’s (Elgin) — $1,000
Business Inn (Elgin) $1,000
Charles Saikaley $5,100
Hasham Sayed $1,000
Boushey Brothers $500
Rob Imbeault $2,000
Holdin Leasing $1,000
Daniel Fernandes Law $4,000
Sheek PR $1,000
D Squared Construction $1,000
Kipfolio $1,390
Waterrotor $2,000
Bintee Dev Inc $5,000
EventBrite $1,194
Advanced Laser Clinic (GF) $1,000
Sheek PR $1,000
D Squared Construction $1,000
Kipfolio $1,390
Water Rotor $2,000