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Spreading the love during COVID-19 pandemic Newfoundlanders do their part to help each other

Paradise resident Vicki Collins with her daughters, Anna, 8, (front) and Audrey, 6, on Wednesday morning. While the photo was being taken, a friend dropped by to donate bags of groceries. JOE GIBBONS/THE TELEGRAM
Paradise resident Vicki Collins with her daughters, Anna, 8, (front) and Audrey, 6, on Wednesday morning. While the photo was being taken, a friend dropped by to donate bags of groceries. JOE GIBBONS/THE TELEGRAM
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

On a cold, windy Wednesday morning in Paradise, Vicki Collins loaded boxes and bags full of groceries into her pickup truck, bundled up her two young daughters and hit the road to make some special deliveries.

"It's in times like this when we need to step up and help each other," Collins said after dropping off her fifth hamper to needy families who are feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's a difficult time when people are worried and stressed about everything going on in the world."

She got the idea to help out after seeing posts from people in need on a neighbourhood Facebook page. With the help of her co-workers and friends, who dropped off donations, Collins collected several food items, from cans of soup to cereal and treats for the kids.


"It's in times like this when we need to step up and help each other." — Vicky Collins


"To see their faces when we dropped them off was great. They were so grateful," said Collins, who added that one of the recipients was an 85-year-old man, while another was a family with four children whose mother is in the hospital.

"There are a lot of people in our province who are struggling and live from paycheque to paycheque. … I've been there myself, so I know how it feels. But now that my husband (Arthur) and I are blessed to have jobs that support us well, we're only too happy to help others.''

Talking through her Bluetooth connection in her pickup, Collins headed home with the music blaring and her daughters singing.

"It's a great feeling," she said. "I know lots of people already do what they can to help others, but if everyone could just do some small little thing, I know it would make a big difference."

Amidst the anxiety, social distancing and self-isolation due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Collins is one of several people across the province who are choosing to spread some love.


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Patricia Kirby, a mother of two in St. John's, has been working from home while schools remain closed, but has opted to continue to pay her babysitter even though services aren't required.

"Let me be clear. I'm not rich and I'm not posting this for kudos," Kirby said in a Facebook post. "I just want everyone to think of those who live paycheque to paycheque and, if you can afford to pay your workers, please, please do so. We are all in this together."

Kirby, a St. John's legal aid lawyer, later told The Telegram that she's able to pay her babysitter's salary because her employer, the provincial government, is continuing to pay her.

"We have a responsibility to pay it forward," she said.

Another St. John's lawyer, Jeff Brace, on a Twitter post, offered moral support to anyone needing it.

"I've spent a lifetime having highly confidential discussions," said Brace, who represented clients in several high-profile cases. "If anyone following or not, is feeling overwhelmed by stress, fear, sadness or loneliness, drop me a (direct message). Not promising solutions… but I'm a good listener … the strain is real."

Businesses across the province are also stepping up.


**UPDATE: Hi, we’ve received a lot of calls wondering if we are still open for walk in service and I just wanted to let...

Posted by Mr. Wilsons Convenience on Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Mr. Wilson's Convenience in Corner Brook indicated on its Facebook page that it would begin delivery service, "to enable people to receive their necessities during these troubling times."

Brothers and Associates Law firm in Corner Brook plans to donate $1,000 to each of seven community organizations, including the Salvation Army Citadel, the NL West SPCA and the Food Bank Network in Corner Brook.

"It can't be overstated that these are strange and difficult times," the firm stated in release that was shared on social media. "But we want to help."

Meanwhile, many musicians, despite performances and venues being closed, are doing their part to keep the music alive and spirits up.

Well-known traditional group Shanneyganock — featuring frontmen Chris Andrews and Mark Hiscock — put on a televised St. Patrick's Day show Wednesday in aid of local food banks, while singer/songwriter Damian Follett is posting daily videos of him performing, stating, "Keep the music going every day to spread some hope and positivity out there."\


Keeping the music going every day to spread some hope and positivity out there...stay safe everyone

Posted by Damian Follett on Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Twitter: @TelyRosie | facebook.com/rosiemullaley/


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