ArtSci serves up slice of home for weary out-of-towners


Simranpal Dhanju knows all too well what it’s like to be far from home with a sick loved one.

It was only a few years ago that the student’s father underwent triple bypass surgery.

The hospital was too far from the family’s home, forcing Dhanju and his relatives to stay overnight at the hospital.

“One of the more comforting things was that my aunts and uncles would bring us meals from home, so we could eat a good meal while we were at the hospital,” he says.

The experience led Dhanju to think about how he might use his love of cooking to give back to the community.

Dhanju searched online for volunteer cooking jobs in Hamilton, eventually coming across a position with Mark Preece Family House.

The facility, opened in April 2011 on Barton Street East, serves as a home away from home for the family members of out-of-town hospital patients. Hamilton General Hospital is only one block away.

Dhanju applied and accepted the job offer, and has been cooking up a storm ever since.

He even foots the bill for the groceries.

“I enjoy cooking just for the sake of it,” he says. “But it’s nice to know that there’s something I’m doing that’s of some benefit for other people.”

Volunteers like Dhanju are being celebrated across the country this week, as part of National Volunteer Week, which runs until April 18.