North of 60
Last year your National Council moved to have all Regions support the peoples of the Arctic and the North of 60 Project became a National initiative.
Tuktoyaktuk was the first Northern Community that the Society started to support. The presence of Sister Fay Trombley at Our Lady of Grace Church, and her work with Community Leaders over several years, allowed for the start of a Saint Vincent de Paul Community food and clothing distribution centre. The next venture was with the help of Sister Dorica Sever in Gjoa Haven. Food is stored, repacked into weekly hampers and distributed to those in need in this Community. Clothing and household items are also distributed.
Three years ago we added Paulatuk to the list of communities supported by SSVP. We are supporting the Community in the restoration of the old mission house building (built in 1935) which once served as a small trading post and Paulatuk’s religious Centre. This will demonstrate SSVP’s plan for long term Community support.
In the same year as Paulatuk we began to support the soup kitchen at Our Lady of Victory Parish in Inuvik. The Society arranged for a sea container to deliver food products for their program, as well as further support for both the Community Food Bank and used clothing distribution. This was also an opportunity to work with Tsiigehtchic, a community that can be reached by road. Our program now supports both Communities with one sea container.
The addition of Taloyoak was relatively easy since Father Lukasz Zajac OMI, ministers to both this Community and Gjoa Haven. The organizers in Taloyoak have done a great job sorting and distributing sea container contents.
Early in the year we were fortunate to be introduced to Rev. Stuart Brown from the Anglican Diocese of the Arctic. He then introduced us to other Anglican Ministers which allows us to open conversation with representatives from Sachs Harbour, Aklavik and Ulukhaktok. Organization was rushed but sea cans were shipped to these Communities last year. The airlines have donated flights for our Vincentians to make a Community Visit to all three locations.
Most of our food is donated in smaller lots from Conferences, churches and community groups in Edmonton area. These donations are sorted in a warehouse, repackaged and allocated to sea containers. Whole powder milk is purchased directly from the processor in bulk. Suppliers of other bulk food products are being developed.
Clothing, bedding, household items and other necessities are also shipped, as well as other items specifically requested by our Arctic Community contacts. These items could include special project building materials, prefabricated sheds, handyman tools, hockey and other sports equipment, and many other products.
Many private donors, SSVP Conferences, CWL, and others provide cash donations for this program which helps with the last minute purchases of food items to assure that our food security program is balanced with the required products. Thanks to all who have helped.
Peter Ouellette, President, Western Regional Council
Ontario’s new found journey of sharing with Nunavut began in October 2015. For 10 days conversations, food and laughter revealed how the Conferences in the South can rally together to bring hope and much needed supplies to our brothers and sisters in Rankin Inlet and Whale Cove.
Rankin Inlet will be forming its Conference this spring. Although SSVP materials were left in the fall, it would have been overwhelming to initiate a Conference then. Under the spiritual guidance of Fr. Marcin Rumik, a Conference will begin to form this spring.
Whale Cove, under the spiritual guidance of Sisters Dorica and Ferdinande, has had a Conference for over a year now.
For 2016, a second journey is planned to help Rankin Inlet with their Conference and the beginnings of setting up a Food Cupboard. Six pallets of food and clothing will arrive during that excursion. In early June, 2 sea containers filled with food and clothing are heading to both communities. Based on the sharing from our Ontario brothers and sisters, it is hoped that 2 more will make the last crossing in the fall.
Pegg Leroux, North of 60. Ontario Regional Council