Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut January 05, 2016 - 11:30 am

Nunavut fisheries group donates thousands in profits to needy families

Five Baffin communities get $10,000 each to distribute at Christmas

STEVE DUCHARME
Leo Mucktar presents a cheque for $10,000 to the Pond Inlet Food Bank. From left: Ruben Arnakallak, Patrick Sangoya, Louise England, Bobby Aglak, Leo Mucktar, Rhoda Nutarak, and centre front, Susanne Kadloo. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Leo Mucktar presents a cheque for $10,000 to the Pond Inlet Food Bank. From left: Ruben Arnakallak, Patrick Sangoya, Louise England, Bobby Aglak, Leo Mucktar, Rhoda Nutarak, and centre front, Susanne Kadloo. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Hundreds of low-income families in the Baffin region ate a little better over the holidays thanks to generous donations by a Nunavut fisheries organization.

The communities of Clyde River, Pond Inlet, Kimmirut, Iqaluit, and Pangnirtung each received $10,000 shortly before the Christmas break, courtesy of their local hunting and trapping organizations and the Baffin Fisheries Coalition.

Pond Inlet resident and Baffin Fisheries board member Leo Mucktar says he “feels great” to be able to give back to his community.

“Every year here in Pond Inlet people hardly get by, trying to buy expensive presents for their kids, and the high price of eating, fuel, all that stuff,” he said.

“It actually helped to buy those gifts to those kids because we helped donate food to the needy.”

A good season and higher profits this year allowed the BFC to consider making the sizable donation, said Mucktar.

“We managed to buy a ship that is owned 100 per cent by Baffin Fisheries and that’s how we could make for money, and not share it with other companies,” he said.

The local HTOs were left to decide how best to use the money in their respective communities.

And the unique conditions of each hamlet led to creative strategies by the some HTOs to spread the holiday cheer.

In Clyde River, the donation came too late to be distributed by the Ilisaqsivik Society, a local non-profit organization, before its administrators left for the holidays.

“So we went through 100 of the most needed house holds and they picked up a $100 gift card from our only store, Northern Stores,” wrote Baffin Fisheries board member Steven Aipellee, in correspondence to Nunatsiaq News.

“$100 does not go very far up north but it was well appreciated.”

And Pond Inlet’s $10,000 donation allowed for the local food bank to supply a Christmas hamper to nearly all of the low-income families living in about 400 public units in the hamlet.

“They [Pond Inlet Food Bank] had enough money to buy food hampers to more needy people. Actually, they almost distributed food hampers to almost every house in Pond [Inlet],” said Mucktar, who presented the local food bank with the cheque.

“They had flour, sugar, macaroni, the [kind of food] people here eat every day.”

According to the HTO in Iqaluit, its share of the money will be used in February or March, when government and businesses donate less money in the city.

In an email response to Nunatsiaq News, a spokesperson wrote that no decision has been made on exactly how to spend the money other than it “will go to those most in need.”

The Iqaluit HTO did, however, supply two boxes of turbot to the Iqaluit soup kitchen over the holidays.

And in Kimmirut, it’s HTO said in a statement it would like to use its share of the money to establish a local food bank in that south Baffin community.

The BFC was created in 2000 by hunter and trapper organizations on Baffin Island.

According to its website, the organization is 100 per cent Inuit owned.

The BFC fishes primarily shrimp and turbot in the seas surrounding Baffin Island.

Turbot, also known as Greenland halibut, a species of flatfish found in circumpolar waters, are most heavily fished in Baffin Bay.

According to a recent news release by the fishing organization, Nunavut has expanded its fishing operations to include about 70 per cent of offshore turbot resources in its adjacent waters.

Mucktar credits the hard work of BFC employees to generate the extra profits needed to make the donation.

“Because of the hard work of Baffin Fisheries employees, they did a good job, and we are thankful,” he said.

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