WATCH: Strangers rush to help after 35-hour power outage

Amy Pitre had to throw out $150-$200 worth of food after losing her job because of COVID-19.

In a moment of darkness for Amy Pitre, strangers stepped in to shine a little light.

Pitre is one of the scores of people living near the West Mall and Eva Rd who were without power for 35 hours this week. The lights winked out in Pitre’s 19th floor apartment at 11:30 p.m. Sunday and did not come back on until 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Toronto Hydro blamed the prolonged outage that affected 700 homes on problems with an underground cable, calling the fix more complicated than expected.

With each hour that ticked by, Pitre and her roommate were losing money. Their fridge and freezer were more well-stocked than usual because of a recent grocery run to keep them home during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We were stocking up for about two weeks because both myself and my roommate, we have health conditions that make us a little susceptible to the virus. So we try not to go out to stores as much as possible,” Pitre told NEWSTALK 1010 early Tuesday.

Pitre says the $300 haul included a lot of meat, milk, and eggs. She estimates the cost of what she’s had to toss to be between $150 and $200.

The loss was especially biting because Pitre doesn’t have any money coming in. She was laid off from her job as an administrative assistant three weeks ago and has yet to received employment insurance or other federal aid. Her roommate is also out of work because of COVID-19.

After NEWSTALK 1010 shared Pitre’s story, listeners asked how they could help--offering to run a food drive, donate their rewards points or cash to put toward a grocery bill.

Mohamad Fakih, founder of Paramount Fine Foods raised his hand, asking what Pitre needed most. Fakih is sending Pitre and her roommate a week’s worth of warm meals and help to re-stock their fridge and freezer.

 “That means a whole lot, it definitely takes a lot off my shoulders,” Pitre said with tears in her eyes as she learned of Fakih’s gift. “If it ever gets to a point where I’m able to return to the favour to someone, I will. This is what we kind of need right now, for everyone.”

Fakih noticed Pitre’s story while scrolling through Twitter over his morning coffee and saw a chance to offer some relief in a rocky period.

“A lot of people are feeling down these days. All that we have to do is reach out and a small gesture could make their day,” Fakih told NEWSTALK 1010. “It will actually last in their mind and in their heart and they’ll feel positive, they’ll feel like there is a light. They’ll feel  like they are not alone and that’s very, very important.”

Pitre was touched by the kindness of everyone who asked how they could help her.

“It honestly gives me a lot of faith in humanity…everyone’s frustrated, everyone’s tensions are high. But we’ve still got to remember that there’s other people that are going through worse than us.”

NEWSTALK 1010 has asked the city of Toronto if there is help available for other Etobicoke residents  who had to throw out spoiled food during the extended power outage. We have not yet received a response.