Local affected by Hurricane Fiona finds strength in volunteering with this community

By Michelle-Andrea Girouard, Specialist - Video Content Producer 
When Hurricane Fiona hit William Coney’s quaint neighbourhood on September 24, 2022, the Canadian Red Cross volunteer did what he knew best: help others.
A damaged home from the stormThe storm, with its violent winds and torrential rainfall, left him and many of his Pictou County neighbours without power for multiple days and, for some, with expensive housing damages and financial loss.
He says volunteering gave him a sense of agency. “Certainly, it was a lot nicer to be autonomous and active. This was a way I could help my local community.”
In the aftermath of the natural disaster, the Canadian Red Cross activated 40 reception centres, one of which was in New Glasgow, N.S., where William registered residents affected and listened to their stories.
William Coney, dressed in a Red Cross vest and wearing PPE, is discussing with a person affected by Fiona“Out here, in Northern rural Nova Scotia, there are a lot of people living tight lifestyles. They’ll have multiple chest freezers, like an entire cow, or they’re stocking up whenever stuff is on sale,” he explained at his registration booth. “With the power loss, they had to toss away several hundreds of dollars of food, you know? It’s all made that much worse with the inflation of food costs.”
He's a veteran of aid skills, having joined boy scouts as a young boy and later responding to house fires and helping his local Ground Search and Rescue Team as an adult. However, he says he joined the Canadian Red Cross’ Emergency Response Team nearly three years ago because of the scale of help the organization can provide.

“It’s good to help someone get supports. As an individual, you couldn’t do that in your local community. We, as the Red Cross, have a lot of capacity. It gives a lot more opportunity to people.”

If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering with the Canadian Red Cross, go to redcross.ca/volunteer.

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