Kind­ness of strangers helps Hope­dale fam­ily

‘I heard her story and I wanted to help’

The Labradorian - - FRONT PAGE - BY DANETTE DOO­LEY

It’s ar­riv­ing a lit­tle while af­ter she turned five, but – thanks to the kind­ness of strangers in Happy Valley-Goose Bay - a child from Hope­dale had her birth­day com­plete with cake, presents, Mary Brown’s chicken and other party favourites.

Jackie Comp­ton-Hobbs of Happy Valley-Goose Bay was touched when she heard a story on CBC News about a mother of three from Hope­dale who had to have eight fin­gers and her lower leg am­pu­tated due to frost­bite.

“The fam­ily didn’t have any money to buy the lit­tle girl presents or have a party for her, so I went out to some of the busi­nesses and I got some food. I got a cake do­nated,” Comp­tonHobbs said dur­ing a re­cent phone in­ter­view.

Gerri Boase had been drink­ing the night she fell asleep out­doors in a ko­matik box in Fe­bru­ary 2016. The young mother spent eight months in St. John’s re­cov­er­ing from her life-threat­en­ing or­deal.

Gerri has three chil­dren ages five, six and nine. She’s ex­pect­ing her fourth child in June.

Comp­ton-Hobbs said af­ter she se­cured food and presents for the birth­day party she con­tacted Gerri’s mother Frances Piercy Boase and asked her to ar­range a party for her grand­daugh­ter on March 18. Frances ea­gerly agreed, she said.

Frances and her hus­band cared for their grand­chil­dren dur­ing their daugh­ter’s lengthy stay in St. John’s.

When con­tacted by phone, Frances said the en­tire fam­ily is ex­cited about the fundrais­ing drive tak­ing place in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

“I’m so thank­ful for th­ese great peo­ple do­ing that for my daugh­ter. She’s so happy. She needs the help right now be­cause she hasn’t had any in­come for all the while she was gone and since she came home,” Frances said.

Frances said her daugh­ter and their fam­ily re­cently moved from a two-story, two-bed­room home to a one-level home with a wheel­chair ramp.

The home will make it eas­ier for Gerri and her fam­ily.

Comp­ton-Hobbs said when she heard Gerri wasn’t re­ceiv­ing in­come sup­port, be­yond the monthly fam­ily al­lowance, she wanted to do some­thing to help the fam­ily.

The child’s birth­day party is just one of the ini­tia­tives that came to mind. Comp­ton-Hobbs also started a col­lec­tion drive ask­ing peo­ple to do­nate food, toys, and chil­dren’s cloth­ing. She also ac­cepted mone­tary dona­tion. The money would be used to buy house­hold items for the fam­ily, she said.

Comp­ton-Hobbs said she’s grate­ful to staff at the emer­gency shel­ter on Hill­crest Road and the women’s shel­ter on Gren­fell Street who agreed to be drop off points for do­na­tions.

She is also grate­ful to Air Labrador for ship­ping the do­na­tions to Hope­dale free of charge.

It mat­ters not to Comp­tonHobbs that she doesn’t know Gerri or her fam­ily.

“I heard her story and I wanted to help. Me­lanie Muzzer­all is help­ing me co-or­di­nate things,” she said.

Comp­ton-Hobbs is a town coun­cil­lor in Happy Val­leyGoose Bay.

Reach­ing out to help oth­ers isn’t new to Comp­ton-Hobbs. A few years ago she spear­headed a fundrais­ing ef­fort to help build a home for a fam­ily who lost their home in a fire. Her ef­forts helped raise $50,000.

SUB­MIT­TED

Gerri Boase with many of her fam­ily mem­bers

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