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Newfoundland Facebook groups fostering care and cheer during COVID-19 pandemic

Nicholas Mercer

The Central Voice

Grand Falls-Windsor , N.L. — Since schools in the province closed a couple of weeks ago, Carla Moretti’s days have been very similar to one another.

In the mornings, the Grand Falls-Windsor resident will put her two young children through some home schooling lessons, they will read a little and try to get out for a walk when the weather allows it.

Each day she helps her family get through the self-isolation requirements put in place by the provincial government to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

In the evenings, Moretti’s day takes a different turn. She turns her attention to helping her community through volunteering in a time of need for many.

On March 25, she started the Caremongering Grand Falls-Windsor group on Facebook with hopes of getting people to help.

“I thought that we need (a group like this) now,” said Moretti.

The idea came to her after she read a news article about similar groups popping up in other parts of the world. Since starting the group, membership has exploded and currently has 988 members.

Posts have been filled with COVID-19 information, questions about self-quarantine and those looking for general information.

“Small towns need a meeting place,” said Moretti. “It is going to be vital as this ramps up.”

At its heart, the group is about helping people.

Often you’ll see relatives of seniors or shut-ins who need groceries picked up and dropped off. When that happens, people in the group — like Moretti — will volunteer to pick up the order and deliver what is needed, all while maintaining social distancing practices.

There have also been people who have helped with other tasks.

“Some people are going out and getting food to help keep the food banks going,” said Moretti. “It has amazed me to see the people helping.”

Grand Falls-Windsor isn’t the only Newfoundland town to have a social media group pop up to help each other.

Other parts of the province are seeing similar groups as people search for a common place to meet, even if it is a virtual setting.

Ash McKnight is the lone administrator and organizer of the Caremongering Happy Valley-Goose Bay group on Facebook.

Its origins are similar to what influenced Moretti to start her group. McKnight drew inspiration from similar groups she saw for communities on the mainland.

She asked people on her own Facebook if this was something that could work in her community and the response she got was overwhelmingly positive. Right now, the group is sitting at 1,600 members.

It's serving as an bulletin board for businesses and health information. It also serves as a way to shine a bit of light onto a dark period.

Pictures of the teddy bear hunt and snow sculptures are both popular posts.

“It is less an exchange on our part, and more about giving people positive vibes,” said McKnight.

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