Iqaluit food bank meeting attracts only one volunteer

One man’s quest to launch a food bank in Iqaluit is turning out to be a lonely struggle.


Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT — A meeting aimed at starting a food bank in Iqaluit only attracted one volunteer this week.

Iqaluit resident Inusiq Shoo called a meeting at the Upassuraakut Drug and Alcohol Centre to organize a food bank for Iqaluit, on Tuesday, June 22.

But the meeting, which was advertised throughout town, only managed to attract one volunteer.

Shoo said he expected more people to attend the meeting, but he will continue on with his work to begin a food bank.

“I wish there were more people coming, but I won’t give up,” Shoo said.

Iqaluit’s Sailivik Community Centre runs a soup kitchen for local residents. But Shoo says the Sailivik centre is more like a “drop-in centre” and he said a food bank is also needed.

“Iqaluit is getting to be a bigger town, a lot of people aren’t working or aren’t making much money… I thought I could help them out,” Shoo said.

“I’ve been here almost all my life and I know what it’s like when you don’t have food. I figure a food bank is the answer,” he said.

Shoo’s goal to bring a food bank to Iqaluit is also part of a plan to start a new life.

Shoo’s life has been riddled with crime, poverty, drug and alcohol abuse and glue sniffing.

In 1993 Shoo was released from an Edmonton prison after completing a three-year sentence for sexually assaulting a woman in Iqaluit.

He returned to Iqaluit in 1997 and says he has been trying to turn his life around.

“I was bad. I had problems that I never dealt with. Now I deal with them… I don’t want to go through that again,” Shoo said.

“It was hard, sometimes I almost give up and I feel like no one wanted me around.”

But Shoo said if it weren’t for the difficulties he’s experienced, he wouldn’t have decided to start a food bank.

“If I could handle my own situation, I would never think about a food bank,” he said.

Shoo just recently began a job operating a pneumatic drill for Qikiqtaaluk Corp. Before that he was living off social assistance and hunting.

Before a food bank can begin operating, Shoo said a group of seven to eight people must be formed. He said the food bank needs a chairman, a secretary, a treasurer and a general manager.

Shoo said he would like to be involved in the food bank but he does not know in what capacity. Food bank organizers will have to find a permanent location and funding.

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