Tannis family answers the call with a gift of $150,000

The Tannis family, already well respected for supporting local charities, has donated $150,000 to the Answering the Call Campaign.

“The Ottawa community has been good to three generations of my family and we appreciate the opportunity to give back,” says Kammal Tannis.

During the Great Depression, brothers Toufic and George Tannis left their hometown of Kfarmichki, Lebanon and came to Ottawa. In 1940, they founded Tannis Trading Company. Initially, the family company thrived, but fell on hard times in the 1970s, after the two founders passed away. Under the leadership of Souad Tannis, Toufic’s widow, the company evolved into Tannis Food Distributors and grew into one of Ottawa’s most successful family businesses. At its peak, it employed 170 people and generated annual revenues of more than $120 million.

More than two decades ago, the family established the Tannis 21 Foundation, named in honour of Souad’s 21 grandchildren. Over the years, the Foundation has donated more than $1.5 million to a long list of local charities and fundraisers. One of the reasons the family chose to donate to the Perley Health Foundation is that a third Tannis brother — Elias — was killed in action during the Second World War.

“We never got to know our uncle Elias, because he died before me and my siblings were born,” says Kammal. “We’ll put up a commemorative plaque in Elias’ name at Perley Health to help keep his memory alive for future generations.”

One of Souad’s grandchildren, Dr. Eddy Malouf, completed his medical residency at the University of Ottawa and now works as an attending physician at Perley Health. Three other grandchildren still work in the family business, which was acquired by Sysco in 2015.

“Souad, my mom, is now 92 and still lives in the same house she moved into when she left Lebanon more than 70 years ago,” says Kammal. “As her care needs have increased over the years, our family came to recognize the importance of the work Perley Health does for all Veterans and Seniors. I was inspired enough to join the Campaign Cabinet and my family is proud to provide their support.”