She created a Facebook group to help others through hard times. Then they came to her rescue

·2 min read
Cortney Barber, seen in this file photo, created the Neighbours in Need Facebook group in January 2020. When she needed help of her own this month, she says the group stepped up in a big way. (Zach Goudie/CBC - image credit)
Cortney Barber, seen in this file photo, created the Neighbours in Need Facebook group in January 2020. When she needed help of her own this month, she says the group stepped up in a big way. (Zach Goudie/CBC - image credit)
Zach Goudie/CBC
Zach Goudie/CBC

Cortney Barber and her team at Neighbours in Need have helped a lot of people in Newfoundland and Labrador over the past year-and-a-half.

Now, she's thanking those who helped her.

Barber, originally from Avondale, started the group following Snowmageddon, the record-breaking blizzard that walloped the Avalon Peninsula in January 2020. She was in Alberta at the time, and knew she wanted to help her friends and family who were stuck inside during the storm.

"I could see so many of my friends and family in Newfoundland in distress … without formula, diapers, food, things like that," Barber told The St. John's Morning Show Thursday. "So I created a group so that I could connect my friends to my other friends, and they could help each other. And it just blew up from there."

The group now features almost 17,000 members on Facebook, helping people with everything from groceries and diapers to arranging travel for appointments, even recently fulfilling a child's wish for a PlayStation 5 during a stay at the Janeway hospital for cancer treatment.

But while working to coordinate those acts of charity, Barber said she fell into her own desperate situation in her home province of British Columbia, when a missed child tax payment from government meant she had to choose between groceries and rent.

When she told her friend, who helps co-ordinate the Neighbours in Need page, about her situation, her friend quietly published in the group asking if anyone could help.

"My group just came together and absolutely amazed me," Barber said.

The support means Barber can keep moving forward until more help arrives at the end of the month. While she didn't want to accept their generosity at first, she said it reflects the power of the community the group has built.

"We all are in need sometimes, and I preach that to the members when they have trouble posting for themselves," she said. "I think it just goes to show that anyone can be in need, and that we're all here for each other."

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