Front-line workers in the Golden Horseshoe will get 1,000-plus free Wendy’s meals thanks to Coyotes GM and his wife

Arizona Coyotes general manager John Chayka — whose hometown is Jordan, Ont. near St. Catharines — is doing his bit to help during the COVID-19 pandemic, both in his new home and his old one.

Chayka told the Star that in April, the 14 Wendy’s franchises he co-owns with wife Kathryn in the Golden Horseshoe will donate and deliver at least 1,000 meals to front-line workers fighting the spread of the coronavirus.

In Arizona, the Coyotes also announced the 30-year-old Chayka and chief executive officer Ahron Cohen will donate 20 per cent of their salaries over the coming months to support COVID-19 relief efforts.

“It’s a unique time,” said Chayka. “Community is important to us (and) we wanted to do something. The next two weeks, it’s going to continue to get tougher.

“We have those people on the front lines who are risking it all, really, right into the eye of the storm. It’s incredible to watch their bravery and their sacrifice. We want to do anything we can to support them in any way we can.”

The meals will be delivered to hospitals, fire stations, police stations and other locations.

“They’re working around the clock. Any time you can help them out with food, it goes a long way,” said Chayka. “Our goal is at least 1,000. The reality is it will probably be much higher than that, which we’d be happy with.”

The restaurant industry has been hit hard with dining rooms closed to encourage social distancing.

“It’s not about the economics of it,” he said. “It’s not about anything other than (helping) those that are helping others, so they can help other people. That’s what I’m hoping comes out of all this.”

A portion of the donated salary will go to the Arizona Coronavirus Relief Fund, focusing on several immediate needs: personal protective equipment for front-line medical personnel; help for food banks, homeless shelters and domestic violence services; technology for low-income students to assist online learning.

“The reality of what’s happening here in Arizona, there’s going to be shortages in equipment. If we can help get masks a day earlier, or buy one extra ventilator, any little bit at this stage will help.”

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