The Inuvik Food Bank is stocked with food and brand-new appliances thanks to a number of “particularly generous donations” from the community this summer, the organization’s chair says.
A $15,000 donation for in-store credit at Inuvik’s Northmart has helped cover the cost of two new fridges and food, while a nearly $1000 donation from local photographer Kristian Binder has helped buy a new standing freezer.
Angela McInnes said these donations have helped the organization bounce back after a couple of financially dubious years.
“These have allowed us to actually continue on feeding people, giving hampers to people,” she said.
“At one point… we had less than $1,000 in the bank and we were going to have to close.”
Last October, McInnes said the food bank could only operate every two weeks instead of weekly, because of the lack of funding and were approaching bankruptcy by December.
The food bank serves between 50-60 households and McInnes estimates it serves around 200 people total.
A submitted photo of the food bank’s new fridges and freezer.
This year, the food bank also received its first-ever donation from the federal government, along with donations from a successful food drive by the Inuvik Legion, produce from the Inuvik Greenhouse, and green beans from a farmer in Edmonton.
When asked why people have been so generous recently, McInnes said it might have something to do with the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I think [it’s] because we’re all scared,” she said. “So, because we’re scared, we want to help each other.”
McInnes said some of the stigma surrounding the food bank might have been broken down in this time of collective hardship, when more and more people are facing unprecedented challenges.
The food bank hasn’t necessarily seen more users since the start of the pandemic, she said, but the clientele has changed.
“The majority of the clients have children now, which we weren’t seeing before,” she said. “I think that came from that stigma, that embarrassment of coming into the food bank.”
A submitted photo of a face mask designed by Binder, using a photo he captured of the aurora.
Binder donated money he made from the sale of face masks he designed using photos he’s captured of northern scenes like the aurora, ice road, and Arctic sunsets.
For four years, Binder has been designing clothing with online manufacturer, the Art of Where, based in Montreal.
“It’s been really exciting,” he said. “Every time an order ships, I get a notification. Some days I get upwards of 30 emails.”
Binder said he decided to donate proceeds to the food bank, rather than other charities, to have an immediate local benefit.
“I figured since my donation wasn’t going to be anything massive, I didn’t want it to just be a tiny drop in the bucket,” he said. “I wanted it to make an impact, if it could.”
After his initial $1,000 donation, Binder donated an additional $1,260 to the food bank, and has plans to donate more.
“With everybody being affected by reduced hours or not having a job to go to at all, these things are in place to help people who are in immediate need,” he said. “It’s good to help keep them afloat.”
A submitted photo of the Inuvik Food Bank , which serves approximately 200 people in the community.
“We don’t care who you are, we don’t ask you for any kind of screening information to see if you qualify – that is not our rule,” she said. “We just want to help you. If you need this hamper, we’re going to give it to you.
“When people donate to us, that’s where it’s all going. It doesn’t go anywhere else but back into the community.”