The Miracle She Needed – Cape Bretoner Expresses Gratitude for the HEAT Fund

by Maritime
Categories: 2020, News Archive
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Cheryl Bernier couldn’t believe what she was hearing when Sydco Fuels told her she was receiving $400 worth of oil for free through the HEAT Fund. “It was a miracle,” she says. “My heart filled with gratitude.”

Since her partner passed away, Cheryl has been living by herself on a survivors pension in the town of Balls Creek, Cape Breton. As the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 began, she knew she needed to be prepared and fill up her oil tank, but with a tight income it wasn’t an option. “I wanted to be prepared but I just couldn’t. I didn’t have the money.” 

Just three days ago, she came across an article about the HEAT Fund – a Salvation Army program funded by Nova Scotia Power and the Government of Nova Scotia that supports Nova Scotians with the added costs of home heating costs during the winter months.

“I filled out an application online and The Salvation Army emailed me back right away to verify my information and paperwork,” she explains. “I couldn’t believe the quick reply.”

“I Still Can’t Believe it”

Two days later, as Cheryl sat at her kitchen window, looking at the freshly fallen snow as she was Facetiming with her sister, she watched a Sydco Fuels truck try to pull into her driveway, but unable to make it due to the heavy snow. “I laughed and said to my sister ‘maybe someone is bringing me free oil, wouldn’t that be a miracle.’”

After she noticed the truck wasn’t able to pull into her driveway, she called the company to let them know she didn’t order oil. They explained to her that the oil was being provided through the HEAT Fund at no charge to her. “When the lady told me I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t believe it.” 

Cheryl knew her kind neighbour would plow her driveway out by the end of the day, as he regularly did, and the truck would be able to get to her home. But as she sat down to write herself a reminder to call Sydco when the driveway was clear, she saw a larger truck making its way down her driveway through the snow. “I went to the front door to thank them and apologize for my driveway not being plowed. They said it was nothing, they just went and got the bigger truck.”

“It was a Miracle”

As her oil tank was being filled, she made small talk with the Sydco employees and expressed her gratitude. When she asked how much the oil was worth, she was in for another shock. “I almost fell over when they told me it was $400. I started to cry, it was so touching.”

Cheryl is one of more than 2400 people who will receive support from the HEAT Fund this year, thanks to an additional $500,000 contributed by Nova Scotia Power in the midst of COVID-19.

“I can’t believe the generosity. It was a miracle. I can’t even begin to express how grateful I am. My heart is just swelling with gratitude. Thank you, thank you so much.” 

To learn more about the HEAT Fund, or to fill out an application, please follow this link.

By Angela Rafuse