Claudette Menchenton offers free room for sick travellers
'I called the room Hope for a reason,' Gander, N.L., woman says
A Gander, N.L., woman has received thousands of replies after offering a room in her home — for free — to people travelling across the province for medical treatment and can't afford other accommodations.
Claudette Menchenton says it's a long drive from the west coast or the Northern Peninsula to St. John's, especially when someone is sick.
Menchenton put her offer on Facebook and received an overwhelming response, with thousands of replies rolling in.
"There are many people that are sick today and I am amazed at how many stories have come through of people saying, 'I've gotten to Gander and I've had to pull over and sleep on the side of the road in the winter, cause I couldn't afford a hotel,'" she said.
"I've had people say that they've went straight through, so tired. So the need is there."
She said she came up with the idea a few years back when her husband was ill with ulcerative colitis. They frequently travelled to St. John's, but had nowhere to stay.
"It was really hard because there were times I would go to my car, just to get a little nap. just to rest, and then be up for the night trying to be there for my husband. And in those moments you feel very alone," said Menchenton.
Her husband has since recovered, but the memory of the ordeal has remained with her.
While she has already booked visitors for months to come, Menchenton said the response is reward enough for her.
"I called the room 'Hope' for a reason, because people have lost hope today. With a lot of the things going on today in the news, sometimes people forget there is life and life is precious, and as human beings we should be helping each other."
Menchenton said her first visitor arrives this weekend.
She added she hopes her act inspires others across the province to do the same.