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Seeing the need, Gypsy and Ginger provided free meals on Saturday
While the state of emergency may have ended on Saturday in St. John’s, the owner of the vegan bakery Gypsy and Ginger, Gillian Phillips, saw that the need for food continued.
“A few of my friends were volunteering all week long and they started knocking on doors and they found... there was a lot of people who still needed help,” Phillips said.
After making a post online saying she was dropping prepacked meals off to two locations — Trinity Pub on George Street and Lemon and Lime Health Shoppe on Topsail Road — as well as being willing to deliver, her inbox was flooded with emails, she said.
“I had people reach out that weren’t even in Newfoundland (saying), ‘You know, my mom is home, she’d really love a hot meal,’” Phillips said.
As is the case with what she cooks regularly, all the meals were plant-based and consisted of 12 vegetable chili, vegetable goulash and a chickpea curry salad.
People from Goulds to metro St. John’s also messaged her, so she rounded up some friends in order to meet the demand.
“We were out all day,” Phillips said.
“I might just get back in the kitchen and start doing some more things.” — Gillian Phillips
Almost all of the nearly 100 meals she prepared are now gone.
“Oh my gosh, my heart when I saw all the people that were still in need out there, I just really wanted to do something,” she said. “I might just get back in the kitchen and start doing some more things.”
During the state of emergency, Phillips was fortunate compared to others, she says, because she never lost power throughout the duration of the storm.
She says she felt inspired by the camaraderie that people in the metro region showed over the past week and wanted to contribute.
“It was great, everyone was hugging me,” she said. “I just wanted to take care of everybody... even if I could have helped out a couple of people, it was worth it for me.”
The owner of Trinity Pub, Bernie Manning, said he thought it was a great idea when Phillips approached him to be a hub for distributing meals to the needy.
“It just made sense really,” Manning said.
They placed a sign outside their door advertising free meals for those in need and advising people to not be shy.
“No one really knows anyone’s situation,” Manning said. “A lot of times it’s way easier for us to put it out there and to offer. More often than not you’ll find people will take you up on the offer.”
People are often reluctant to let people know they are in need, Manning says.
“But if you give them an opportunity to be helped, they will.”
Phillips is still receiving messages from people needing food. She and Manning are already talking about the possibility of doing this at Trinity Pub on a more regular basis.