A competitive powerlifter has been picking up the spirits of front-line workers across the North Shore recently with surprise deliveries of food purchased with sponsorship money he was unable to use due to the pandemic.
Sumeet Sharma is a high-level lifter who was on course to represent Canada at an international competition in the Czech Republic last year when COVID-19 hit, scuttling the event. With no competitions on the schedule for the foreseeable future, Sharma and his sponsors decided to take the money that would have been used to send him to compete overseas and use it to buy food for frontline workers.
He’s been at it for more than a year now, first hitting hospitals around the Lower Mainland and then schools and other public institutions with food deliveries for front-line workers. The Vancouver-based athlete has turned his attention to the North Shore in recent weeks, popping up with armloads of food at locations such as École Cedardale Elementary, Ridgeview Elementary and Lynn Valley Library.
“We don't on plan on stopping anytime soon,” Sharma stated in a note to the North Shore News. “I hope readers get encouraged by my story and donate food supplies to our front-line workers. The only way we are going to get through this tough time is if we work together as a community.”
The food delivery was a welcome surprise for teachers who have been working in stressful pandemic conditions, said Ridgeview vice principal Chris Parslow.
“Sumeet’s gesture was really well received by all our staff and just came out of the blue,” said Parslow. “It has been over a year living and working with COVID in our community and everyone in the school has been working really hard to keep the kids safe, happy and busy learning. This is what we do, and the kind gesture of recognition brought smiles to our teachers and support staff. We’re glad to know that Sumeet is spreading this kindness to front-line workers all over the Lower Mainland.
Powerlifting is a sport that combines three lifts: squat, bench press, and dead lift.
Sharma has been competing in powerlifting since 2016 and in that time he has accumulated an impressive resume. He won gold in 2017 and 2018 at the Western Powerlifting Championships and placed fourth in powerlifting in the country in 2018.
Sharma also won gold for Team Canada in bench press at the North American Powerlifting Championships in Panama City in 2019. He is scheduled to compete in World Bench Press Championship this October in Kazakhstan.
- with files from Vancouver Is Awesome