Iqalungmiut pitch in to rescue food bank

More than 200 Iqaluit families will have food to eat this Christmas, thanks to the generosity of Iqaluit’s warm-hearted residents



With its cupboards bare, it looked like it was going to be difficult for the Nunavut food bank to feed families during the Christmas season.

But Iqaluit residents stepped up to offer a helping hand and donated $1,000, and cart-fulls and boxes of groceries.

On Dec. 13, volunteers with the Niqinik Nuatsivik Nunavut food bank announced they wouldn’t be able to open their doors the next day because they had entirely run out of food.

“By the previous Saturday it was bare,” Denise Coulter, secretary treasurer of the food bank, said in an interview.

They put out a plea for $800 worth of food. Volunteers set up a booth at the Northmart store hoping shoppers would donate some of their groceries to the food bank.

The volunteers were pleasantly surprised when they tallied the donations at the end of the day. Iqaluit residents had given them $1,000 in cash, along with boxes and boxes of food.

“That was pretty tremendous,” Coulter said. “It was really needed, so we’re in a good situation now.”

The food bank feeds about 200 people in Iqaluit every week. It provides them with a bag of groceries, which contains non-perishable food items.

Because the centre doesn’t have any core funding, it totally relies on donations.

“It’s kind of a situation where we go week to week. We really don’t know if we’re going to be able to open,” Coulter said.

Since holding its food drive on Saturday, residents and local companies are now eager to donate.

“We just wanted to make people aware that it’s a community issue and we need a community response,” Coulter said.

A grocery store based in the South is sending fresh vegetables to the food bank this week. That means families will get a treat during the holiday season.

“It’s not something we do on a regular basis, but where it’s Christmas, we wanted to do something special,” Coulter said.

On Nov. 30 the Nunavut food bank received the biggest gift it’s ever received since it opened last year.

First Air donated $16,000 from the money it collected from ticket sales to its annual charity ball.

The food bank hasn’t officially received the money yet, and that’s why it found itself in a tough situation last week.

Once the funding comes through, Coulter said, the food bank wants to look at expanding. Right now, it just serves people in the Baffin region.

Some of the $16,000 will go towards long-term planning and fundraising efforts.

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