Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut February 27, 2012 - 7:34 pm

Help on its way for victims of Iqaluit’s Feb. 26 fire

Donations pour in as First Air, Canadian North offer free air shipping to Iqaluit for donations

Andrew Arreak looks through a pile of donated clothes at the Nunavut Research Institute on Feb. 26. Arreak and his family lost everything in the Creekside Village fire on Feb. 26 in Iqaluit. (PHOTO BY DEAN MORRISON)
Andrew Arreak looks through a pile of donated clothes at the Nunavut Research Institute on Feb. 26. Arreak and his family lost everything in the Creekside Village fire on Feb. 26 in Iqaluit. (PHOTO BY DEAN MORRISON)

(updated 7:45 p.m.)

Residents of Nunavut’s capital city — and people across the North — want to reach out and help the many victims of the Feb. 26 blaze that leveled a block of 22 row houses in Iqaluit overnight.

Among those left homeless there are 53 children, aged five months to 18 years old.

The Nunavut Research Institute in Iqaluit, the central point for donation drop-offs in the city, received scores of boxes and bags of donations for local citizens for their neighbours who lost everything they owned in the fire.

So many donations poured in that, by mid-afternoon of Feb. 27, the NRI asked donors to take all clothing and non-perishable food items to the Iqaluit post office or to Nunavut Arctic College’s Ukkivik residence.

On the donations’ wish-list: clothing suitable for boys between the ages of eight and 18.

Iqaluit’s thrift store also planned to open Feb. 27 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. for any people affected by the fire “to come in and to take what they need,” including household goods, such as plates, utensils, bedding, towels and clothes for children and adults.

People in other northern communities also want to help.

That’s why Chef Andy Poisson in Cambridge Bay decided to organize a $10-a-head fundraising lunch Feb. 28 at Cambridge Bay’s Nunavut Arctic College, where people can also bring donated items to be sent on to Iqaluit.

First Air, which serves communities in Nunavut and Nunavik, offered to ship donated supplies to Iqaluit — for free.

The company said in a Feb. 27 news release that it will provide no-cost shipping throughout its network to Iqaluit for the following items:

• blankets, bedding and towels;

• personal hygiene products (e.g. toothbrushes, deodorant, shampoo, lotions, etc);

• baby bottles, soothers, diapers, wipes;

• basic household items; and,

• non-perishable food.

“Please ensure all items are clean, in good condition,” First Air said.

And the airline won’t ship any electronics or dangerous goods items.

If you want to ship donated items on the approved list, contact your local First Air cargo office, the airline said.

For donations from Ottawa, contact 613-254-6471; for donations from Montreal, contact 514-631-8560; for donations from Kuujjuaq, contact: 819-964-2225; and, for donations from Yellowknife, contact 867-669-6649.

Canadian North is also accepting donations of winter clothing until March 2 for shipment on a space-available basis, the airline told Nunatsiaq News.

Items must be boxed and “securely fastened for transportation,” said the airline, which advised anyone looking to donate to contact Canadian North’s cargo department 24 hours in advance with weight and dimensions of the boxes.

If you want to make cash donations, contact the Red Cross donation line at 1-800-418-1111 from anywhere in Canada and say you want to donate money to the “current Iqaluit response.”

A “big thanks to all those who wish to help and donate,” said Iqaluit mayor Madeleine Redfern on the public service Facebook page for the City of Iqaluit. “Thankfully, all affected Creekside fire victims are either rehoused, at the hotel or staying with family or friends tonight. Nunavut Arctic College, Nunavut Research Institute, Nunastar, Nunavut Housing Corp have been working tirelessly to ensure that affected individuals get the help and support they need. Many thanks to City staff, Food Bank, Northwest Company, Thrift Store, First Air, Canadian North, churches, Inuit organizations, other businesses and community members are doing what they can to help.”

Mary Simon, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, said in a Feb. 27 news release she “was heartened to hear of people wanting to help the people affected by this fire, and statements of support from leaders in Iqaluit and Ottawa.”

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