'Hits close to home': Neighbours rally for Hibb's Cove family after fire

Clothing, food and money are being donated to the family of four whose home was destroyed by fire on Tuesday.

Local groups fundraise for a Conception Bay family who lost their home in a fire

Rev. Bill Strong is organizing a fundraiser for a family who lived in a now-ruined house in Hibbs Cove, near Port de Grave. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

The St. Luke's Anglican Church in Port de Grave is hosting a fundraiser for a family of four who lost their home in a fire in Hibb's Cove on Tuesday. 

The small parish is among many groups rallying to help Terry and Juanita Stead, parents of two boys under 12, who had their house burned down. 

'It's tradition here'

The monthly open-mic jubilee for worshippers at St. Luke's — an event that Reverend Bill Strong says is "very popular" in the area — will donate its June proceeds to the Stead family, who lost all of their physical belongings. 

The reverend was swarmed by messages from people wanting to help, and bags of clothing and food have already been sent to the family. 

"The wonderful aspects of a place like this is that there's always a feeling of open arms. It's tradition here." 

This two-story home in Hibbs Cove was completely destroyed by fire Tuesday. (Submitted by Kent Boone)

Strong and the church are charging five dollars per person for the jubilee night and are encouraging people to give what they can. He hopes the event will raise a few hundred dollars for the Stead family. 

"It's just a chance for amateurs like myself to get together, enjoy the music, and enjoy the support of one another," he said. 

Strong is expecting at least 70 people to attend the fundraiser at the parish hall next Tuesday night, June 13. There's a line-up of approximately 18 performers and a few country-gospel songs planned for the entire church to sing. 

Daycare pitches in 

Other groups nearby also heard about the fire and decided to help. 

Janice Batten, owner of the Reach for the Stars daycare in South River, is collecting donations at her pre-school, asking parents and friends to "send in anything big and small — even a brush or comb" for the family to use. 

Janice Batten, the owner of the Reach for the Stars daycare centre, is hosting a donation drive for the Stead family. (Ted Dillon)

Batten said the fire "hits so close to home" because she has a co-worker who is related to the family and she felt an urge to help. 

"When I heard about it, I just felt the need for us to reach out and help in any way that we could," she said.  

Batten stacks the bags of school supplies, clothing, and toiletries that were dropped off on a shelf at the back of her small classroom. She said the response from the community has been "overwhelming." 

She is also donating $300 to the family. 

"I'm sure we can still donate lots of items to them," Batten said. "Hopefully when we get another free minute, we can see what else we can round up from here."

Parents and neighbours have dropped off toiletries and school supplies at the Reach for the Stars daycare. (Ted Dillon)