Fiona relief concert drums up $847K, matched by federal government

Shanneyganock closed out Sunday's concert in St. John's. Singer Chris Andrews helped put the relief concert together.  (Alick Tsui/Twitter - image credit)
Shanneyganock closed out Sunday's concert in St. John's. Singer Chris Andrews helped put the relief concert together. (Alick Tsui/Twitter - image credit)
Alick Tsui/Twitter
Alick Tsui/Twitter

A star-studded lineup and a fried chicken franchise helped raise just over $847,000 for the Canadian Red Cross's post-tropical storm Fiona relief effort in St. John's on Sunday.

That money will be matched by the federal government, raising the total going to battered Newfoundland and Labrador communities to more than $1.6 million.

Singer-songwriter Chris Andrews of Newfoundland band Shanneyganock spearheaded the effort. It wasn't his first.

"Shanney has a connection to the southwest coast. It's a place we love to play, we go often and the people are great. What I seen really affected me," Andrews said Monday.

"Many years ago we had done a big show for Hurricane Igor so we already had a template. I got on the phone and started calling the committee that we had from Igor, plus we added some new folks on the committee, and that's when it all took shape."

Donations began pouring in from across the country almost immediately after Fiona struck.

Andrews said the phone lines are still open until midnight Tuesday for anyone still looking to donate, so final tally could be higher than the $847,000 figure announced.

Brian Button, mayor of Channel-Port aux Basques — one of the towns devastated by the storm — was welcomed to the stage between Sunday's performances, including sets by local heavy hitters including Tim Baker, Kellie Loder, the Kubasonics and Shanneyganock and a video message from Alan Doyle to keep spirits up and donations rolling in throughout the evening.

Alick Tsui/Twitter
Alick Tsui/Twitter

Button was met with a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd.

"It's an honour to stand here and say thank you to each and every one of you, for all the reach-out and everything that you've been doing for our communities," Button said.

"We're hearing from everyone. I'm very humbled to be here."

A good portion of the donated money — $335,000 — came from Mary Brown's.

Leading up to the concert, the fast-food chicken franchise, which was founded in Newfoundland, promised to donate 50 per cent of its sales on Sunday.

It turned out to be the busiest day on record for the company's outlets across the province, according to owner Greg Roberts.

Roberts made good on his promise — and went a step further.

"We agreed to give 50 per cent of all sales for today to the cause but we're not going to do that," Roberts said. "We're going to give 100 per cent. [It was] the busiest day in the history of Newfoundland and Labrador sales because of you."

Andrews said residents of the province showed their true colours.

"People care. People care about each other and we want to help," he said. "It's a great feeling to know that we still have that and we're still a province that's proud and strong and we're there for each other."

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