As the world watches Newfoundland being hit with the almighty #stormaggedon – there has been a wonderful and curious reaction coming from the folks who are living in this state of emergency.
Only on this tiny island would you find people taking the worst of a situation and making it the best it could be, and entertaining for the rest of the country too.
While Canada held its breath and watched on as one of its provinces were plummeted with over 80 cms of snow, Newfoundlanders dug out forts with ledges to keep their beers cold and smiled on with their shovels in hand. Georgetown residents gathered for a fire, people snowboarded down Water Street, children slid from their roofs to their roads in pure glee. It’s hard to find true fun in chaos, but somehow Newfoundland managed.
Twitter was flooded with numerous people opening their doors to be encountered with a mountain of snow encased in the frame, appearing as if magical storm door of snow was greeting them to a new land, the land of stormageddon. One feller took the snow from his door and filled his tub as a solution, because there was simply nowhere else to put it.
One might feel defeated when they truly took in the grandeur of the whole thing. It’s easy to watch from afar and laugh at the many folks mocking the plight of their hardships. If you actually digest how much snow everyone had to take on, you might get panicked at just the idea of it all. Only Newfoundlanders can calm the rest of the country’s concerns with laughter, and put their worries at ease that it will all be ok.
In true Newfoundland form, the whole city came together. While the streets were bare with eery sense of loneliness, people strapped on snowshoes or skis with a shovel in hand and took to the roads in search of neighbours in need. The Staff at Memorial University remained on campus for 72 hours to make sure the students were fed, people shovelled out nurses returning from ungodly long shifts, and a crowd answered a call on social media to help the elderly and people with disabilities in Mount Pearl.
When Coleman’s vowed to pay their employees for missed shifts, other businesses jumped the bandwagon to cover off wages to those affected by the storm. While the military were called into help get the city back in working order, they decided to stop by one little boys home to make his day.
“He wanted nothing more than to help our soldiers shovel, so we paid him a visit. It was a pleasure to meet you Matthew,” stated the 5th Canadian Division’s facebook post. Matthew’s mother, Lisa Marie Sharpe posted on Facebook that the little boy is 7 years-old with CP and he wanted desperately to go outside and help everyone shovel, but the conditions weren’t safe. So the military decided to make the boy’s day from within his home.
The kindness hasn’t stopped there: Pizza places handed out free pizza to emergency and city workers, one woman ran 12K to get food for her landlord’s family, a nurse hitched a ride with the Growlers captain on a skidoo, CHANNAL reopened it’s warm line temporarily in response to state of emergency, cabs took people to grocery stores for free, nurses snowshoed to work, and of course, the non-stop shoveling.
Though the stories have been easy to warm the heart, there is still much need for help. Tracey Harris Hicks of The Sweet Newfie Kitchen posted on day six of SOE a video on the Facebook’s NL Snowmageddon 2020 Information Center stated she was appreciative of donations and support to help those in need.
“I am hoping and praying that some of you guys can come through and drop off donations to give back to the community. Our community blessing box has been a huge success, greater than I had ever expected. We had over forty people come through the door and everybody left today with a healthy happy bag of groceries,” stated the video.
She urged people who need a hot meal to come by without judgment to get fed and encouraged people in St. John’s to start a community blessing box. She asked folks to continue to share any information of food banks that are open and have food.
“Most Newfoundlanders are living paycheck to paycheck. We have a storm now that has put us out of commission for five days and a lot of people are starting to hurt. My heart is really broken for them, especially seniors. For seniors to have to walk her from the other side of the Mount Pearl in the freezing cold….it breaks my heart. We gotta do something folks.”
In the video, she stated that a senior couple had walked over an hour to the kitchen in hopes of a meal, which she managed to provide and then drove them home.
The Sweet Kitchen is located on 104 Park ave and appreciates any donations anyone can provide to help the community stay safe and fed during the state of emergency.
While the rest of the country looks on, Newfoundlanders will raise their beers to the mountain of snow, or glide into downtown on snowboards, because only here can we truly find the heart of the storm.
Newfoundland is not a tiny island. There are thousands of high school students, Mun students and others from all over the province. Guess they all have the “bad back”. Didn’t see any with a shovel! Too bad we had to bring in the Army to dig them out. Still the rest of Canada can depend on us for a laugh as usual.