Inuit organizations roll out COVID-19 support for Nunavut communities
Programs range from food baskets and grocery vouchers to money for elders and hunters
Food hampers, grocery vouchers and subsidies to get out on the land — these are some of the ways the Qikiqtani Inuit Association is putting federal money for pandemic relief to work in Kinngait and Iqaluit.
Starting May 24, QIA and the Co-op will begin delivery of $250 grocery vouchers to each Inuit household in Kinngait, a community that’s seen a handful of recent COVID-19 cases.
And over the weeks of May 31 and June 28, QIA will deliver food hampers and $250 grocery vouchers to the homes of Inuit in Kinngait.
QIA also plans to distribute grocery vouchers to assist with food security in Iqaluit.
Inuit in Iqaluit who are 16 or older as of June 30 will receive grocery vouchers worth $275, divided equally between Arctic Ventures Marketplace and Northmart.
The first distribution period runs from May 31 to June 4. The second will take place at the end of June, said QIA, which has partnered with Ayaya for the distribution effort.
The Northwest Co. and the Co-op have both topped up federal funds available for pandemic food security relief, QIA said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made food security across the Qikiqtani region more difficult,” QIA president P.J. Akeeagok said in a recent news release.
“QIA is thankful for the federal government’s continued support for communities affected by COVID-19, and Arctic Co-operatives Ltd.’s ongoing excellence in delivering this programming alongside QIA for affected Qikiqtani Inuit.”
QIA is also reopening its Emergency Land Access Initiative to Qikiqtani Inuit living in Iqaluit and Kinngait, with a one-time $1,500 grant per eligible household.
The money is can be used to help people self-isolate on the land during the outbreak in Iqaluit or Kinngait.
“It can be used for fuel, ammunition, food, or other supplies you need while out on the land,” states a news release. “With the spring thaw well underway in Iqaluit, it may also be used during the upcoming boating season.”
Last week, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association also announced the distribution of almost $900,000 in federal funds.
The KIA said it would once again offer its Elders Supplement Program, which will give eligible elders $300 per month from June through October 2021.
The KIA will also make a $20,000 contribution to each of the hunters and trappers organizations in the five communities of the region so that they can help provide country foods to all Kitikmeot Inuit.
The Kivalliq Inuit Association has not yet announced any continuation of its COVID-19 support programs.
Indigenous Services Canada recently announced it was giving more than $19 million to help make sure Nunavut communities have access to food during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the department has provided more than $137.8 million in combined COVID-19 support to Nunavut communities, a federal government backgrounder said.