PEI

Islanders show their love to each other, and lobsters, after the storm

In times of need, people of P.E.I. always come together to lend a hand to those who need it. From giving away food, to opening their doors for people to charge their phones, Islanders are getting through the aftermath of post-tropical storm Fiona together.

People on P.E.I. are getting through the aftermath of Fiona together

The owner of Thai Pad food truck, Sumitra Burke, has been giving away hot food for free in the days after Fiona hit. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

Luciano Rodriguez is digging into a container of pad thai with gusto. 

It's the first hot meal he's had since post-tropical storm Fiona ripped through the region and across P.E.I., leaving tens of thousands of people without power. 

Trees are down all over the Island, either taking out power poles or lying on the wires, making getting people re-connected difficult.

The military has arrived and power crews from Ontario and Newfoundland are working alongside Maritime Electric crews. 

Rodriguez said like many people, he has food, but no way to cook it. 

"It'll be amazing for us to get a hot meal ... It's nice to be in a place where people help each other. It's nice to see how nice Canadians are with each other." 

'I tried to do my best to help'

Sumitra Burke and her friends have been cooking up a storm, giving away food before it goes bad. 

The owner of the Thai Pad food truck said they just wanted to help people. And her food truck had gas, so she could cook. 

"I feel so lucky my food truck survived the hurricane … I hope they're happy … I tried to do my best to help."

Burke said many people are regular customers, but she's seen some new faces too. 

Coady Campbell, the owner and operator of Water Prince Corner Shop, is grateful to the people who offered to help keep his lobsters frozen during the storm. (Martin Trainor/CBC )

'We don't want to see any of it go to waste'

Coady Campbell is the owner and operator of Water Prince Corner Shop, a downtown Charlottetown restaurant that sells mainly seafood.

Campbell said they were able to save a lot of their live lobsters through a little creativity and the help of others.

"It's an animal, so we want to keep it happy and healthy for as long as we can, and let it serve its purpose. We don't want to see any of it go to waste," he said.

We're very glad we did open and people are very glad to come in even for a cup of coffee, or even just to hang out or charge their device or use the Wi-Fi.— Coady Campbell

"People gave generators, neighbours came over with extra propane tanks, lots of offers of help. And we're seeing that, obviously, from the business standpoint but even in the community we weren't sure what to do when we got power — do we open, what are the optics gonna look like.

"It's almost all local foot traffic that's in here. So we're very glad we did open and people are very glad to come in — even for a cup of coffee, or even just to hang out or charge their device or use the Wi-Fi. It's hard to know what to do right now, but we all just do the best we can." 

Campbell said about half the live lobsters are still doing great, and the rest will be cooked and used in lobster rolls and chowder in the coming days.

Staff at Water Prince Corner Shop busy serving food to people looking for a hot meal. (Martin Trainor/CBC )

Lots of room at the fridge

Meanwhile, food continues to be available at the free P.E.I. Community Fridge in Charlottetown. 

Sandra Sunil is one of the organizers, and said while there was no power for the fridge, people continue to use it. 

She said very little food had to be discarded, and there's plenty of room for donations. 

Sunil said she knows people are having a hard time getting food right now. 

"This is definitely a challenging time … A lot people really rely on electricity. So I'm certainly concerned about how people are going to find these few days."

Sunil suggested people wanting to donate food check the group's Facebook page or the list attached to the fridge itself for the most-needed items.

Plugging in and connecting

Sharing what you have is part of the Island way. 

When Damon Roberts from East Coast Art Party realized his business had power, he opened the doors so people could drop by. 

"Whenever people show up, they can plug in, they can connect to our Wi-Fi. I have the big screen so we can pop on some movies to keep the kiddos occupied. I know my daughter is missing Disney right now and so on."

Damon Roberts opened up his Charlottetown business, East Coast Art Party, so that people could charge their devices until their own power came back. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

He said the same sense of community is happening in his neighbourhood, where he said people are "pulling together" to clean up after the storm. 

The warmth of warming centres

At P.E.I.'s warming centres, neighbours are gathering together with cups of coffee in their hands, comparing stories about their situations. 

Arden Belfry spent some time at the Cornwall Civic Centre. 

He said he came to power up his devices so he can keep his family up-to-date, as well as provide a bit of entertainment for his kids. 

Arden Belfry brought his family to the reception centre at the Cornwall Civic Centre to power up devices on Tuesday. (Tharsha Ravichakaravarthy/CBC)

"It's just really impressive to see everyone help each other out and be really good to each other," he said.

"Yesterday I came across a couple of guys who were just walking in their area. They don't work for government but they were trying to clean up the road a bit so that cars could get past.

"Neighbours helping neighbours — it's just really nice to see. It's heartwarming."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Maggie Brown

Producer

Maggie Brown has been with the CBC on P.E.I. since 1992, working in radio, television and digital. Contact me at maggie.brown@cbc.ca if you have a story to share.

With files from Katie Nicholson, Martin Trainor, Victoria Walton and Tharsha Ravichakaravarthy

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