Biting cold winter days are no match for a good Yellowknife tradition.

Students at École St Patrick High School formed a human chain on Tuesday afternoon for Operation Christmas, an annual food drive on behalf of the nearby Salvation Army.

By creating a chain stretching downhill from the school and across Yellowknife’s main Franklin Avenue to the charity’s local building, students can quickly shift dozens of food hampers to help anyone in need this Christmas.

However, Tuesday’s event saw students contending with temperatures approaching -30°C with windchill.

“It just took a turn for the cold but that’s OK,” said Salvation Army representative Darlene Hardy. “Here in Yellowknife that’s what we expect, right?”

Last year’s Operation Christmas provided food for 24 of the city’s families. This year, the school noted the response had been “lower than usual” but students still required 20 minutes to pass every hamper from their campus to the Salvation Army’s storage room.

“This is what St Pat’s as a family does,” said teacher Catherine Coolen, who organized this year’s food drive. “This is how we’re helping others to have Christmas this year.”