Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut September 28, 2016 - 10:00 am

Fundraising donations bring nourishment to Western Nunavut food bank

Cambridge Bay's food bank fills a van, and more, with donations

JANE GEORGE
Food for all: Wellness Centre staff pose with food collected for the centre's food bank during its recent
Food for all: Wellness Centre staff pose with food collected for the centre's food bank during its recent "fill-the-van" drive. From right to left: Andrew Pokiak, Eddie Toasi, Joan Steinback-Ensor, Talia Maksagak and Kendall Aknavigak. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CAMBRIDGE BAY WELLNESS CENTRE)
Miss Nunavut Petite, Talia Maksagak, also a diabetes outreach agent at the Cambridge Bay Wellness Centre, accepts a donation for the centre's food bank from John Kaiyogana, community liaison officer for Sabina Gold and Silver Corp. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CAMBRIDGE BAY WELLNESS CENTRE)
Miss Nunavut Petite, Talia Maksagak, also a diabetes outreach agent at the Cambridge Bay Wellness Centre, accepts a donation for the centre's food bank from John Kaiyogana, community liaison officer for Sabina Gold and Silver Corp. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CAMBRIDGE BAY WELLNESS CENTRE)

CAMBRIDGE BAY—Cadets fanned out around town collecting food donations from residents, volunteers canvassed businesses for money, and the community elders van filled up with food during this past week’s “fill the van campaign” for the Cambridge Bay Wellness Centre’s food bank.

Every Thursday evening, the food bank distributes food to households in Cambridge Bay who are hungry—about 60 a month, said Kendall Aknavigak, a counselor at the centre.

They receive a box packed with dry goods like rolled oats and milk powder as well as meat, fruits and vegetables.

To keep the pantry full, Aknavigak said the food bank relies on donations, from individuals, groups and businesses, as well as the local fish plant, Kitikmeot Foods, and the hunters and trappers organization and stores, which provide fish, caribou and muskox,

Proceeds from the Wellness Centre’s thrift shop, which sells donated clothing and other items, also go towards funding the food bank.

To help stave off hunger in this community of 1,700, the Wellness Centre tries to incorporate food into as many of its programs as possible.

Among its other efforts to keep people fed: pre-natal cooking programs, programs for young mothers and a “soup for soul” lunch program that serves lunches three times a week, from October to May, for 30 to 60 people at a time.

Last year, the “soup to soul” volunteers served 2,000 meals, Aknavigak said.

This year, a $10,000 donation from the local Northern store will help pay for the lunch program.

While hunger isn’t always obvious in this largely prosperous-looking community, children are probably the most likely to go hungry.

That’s according to the 2007-8 Qanuippitali Inuit health survey which found about half of Nunavut’s children aged three to five don’t get enough food to eat.

To make sure they—and their families in Cambridge Bay—enjoy a good Thanksgiving, the Wellness Centre plans to host a community-wide Thanksgiving dinner, featuring donated turkeys and foods prepared by the centre’s cooking club which gets underway this Saturday evening.

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