Anonymous donor gives 4,000 masks to N.B. village
CAP-PELE, N.B. -- Four thousand face masks have been donated to the village of Cap-Pele, N.B., from someone wishing to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Justin Leblanc, Cap-Pele's director of events and communications, says the donor wishes to remain anonymous, but did say how he came to possess all the masks.
"He got them from a pharmacy closure a few years ago," Leblanc said. "Instead of throwing them away, he decided to bring them home and conserve them."
Directions from the donor were to deliver approximately 1,000 each to the Moncton hospitals, the seniors complex in Cap-Pele, and, lastly, to the United States.
Specifically, to the city of Broussard in Louisiana, which has been Cap-Pele's sister city since 1984.
"It's through our Acadian-Cajun culture," said Leblanc.
Both cities made a pact to be there for one another in times of need, and that the donation of masks from Cap-Pele to Broussard is their way of holding up their end of the promise.
The masks were delivered to Broussard at the end of March.
The chief operating officer of the city says the generous donation came at a time of great need for masks for frontline workers.
"They've been distributed to our police department, fire department and our public works department, and that represents about 100 employees," said Jeremy Hidalgo, the chief operating officer of the city of Broussard.
Some have questioned whether the delivery of masks to the U.S. was appropriate - after the U.S. banned some medical exports to Canada.
"This was done all before that all happened," Leblanc said. "And regardless, we're very good friends and a large portion of the masks did stay in our area."
Both communities agree, regardless of politics, they must stay true to their Acadian-Cajun roots, despite the cross-border friction.
"That's the beautiful part about the relationship between the Cajuns and the Acadians," Hidalgo said. "There's no place for negativity and there's really no place for anything other than loving one another, helping one another in times of need. We would do the same given the opportunity."