NEWS: Nunavut February 26, 2016 - 7:00 am

Nunavut MLA applauds volunteer-run soup kitchen in Pond Inlet

“We must continue to make every effort to fight poverty and hunger"


People in Pond Inlet can help fend off the hunger pangs of poverty, thanks to the opening of a new soup kitchen called Tununiq Ikajuqtiit [Tununiq Helpers], their MLA Joe Enook said in the legislative assembly in Iqaluit Feb. 24.

The volunteer-run effort in this north Baffin community of 1,500 recently opened its doors in the local Anglican parish hall, Tununiq MLA Enook said.

“I ask all members to join me in tribute to the volunteers that do this with absolutely no pay, including those in Pond Inlet who are helping to fight hunger one meal at a time,” the MLA said, to the applause of his colleagues.

Enook thanked local residents Rhoda Nutarak and Susanne Kadloo, as well as the Baffin Fisheries Coalition and employees from Baffinland Mines Corp.‘s nearby Mary River mine, for getting the project up and running.

While paying tribute to those helping others, Enook said it’s also important to “reflect with sadness that our society still needs such things as food banks and soup kitchens.”

“We must continue to make every effort to fight poverty and hunger,” Enook said.

Although food banks exist in a number of Nunavut communities, soup kitchens are relatively rare — despite widespread and chronic food insecurity suffered by many Nunavummiut.

A soup kitchen opened up in the western Nunavut community of Kugluktuk in 2013, but sporadic funding for that initiative meant the soup kitchen could only operate for a few months at a time.

Rankin Inlet runs a food bank called Ikurraq or the Deacon’s Cupboard and organizers there have been hoping to start up a soup kitchen in that Kivalliq community.

However, Iqaluit’s soup kitchen is open daily.

The Qayuqtuvik Society, which operates the soup kitchen in Nunavut’s capital, says it serves more than 32,000 meals per year, thanks to the nearly 6,000 volunteer hours put in by its 135 volunteers.

In October 2015, the society hosted an event called “Eat Think Vote,” to elicit comments from soup kitchen users on their struggles with poverty and hunger.

During that event, which coincided with the federal election campaign, a single mother with a full-time job said the soup kitchen is “not just for the unemployed, but for the working poor.”

A recent Nunatsiaq News story on homelessness in Iqaluit featured the voices of a number of poor local residents who regularly use the soup kitchen. You can read that story here.