After learning about the conditions and cost of living for people living in the far north, (e.g., $200.00 for a frozen turkey, $80.00 for a package of diapers, $26.00 for a jug of orange juice), members of the ETFO Durham Occasional Teachers’ Local Political Action Committee decided to provide assistance to a community in Northern Ontario. Larisa Kavitsky, a member of our Local, spent three (3) years teaching in Kasabonika Lake First Nation, located 448 kilometres northeast of Sioux Lookout. About 900 people live in the community, which is only accessible by air or winter road. Larisa was able to provide valuable insight into the issues of most importance for those in the northern community as well as the names of people to contact for information about the schools and what items were urgently needed.
The committee received a “wish list” last spring from the principal of the school and sent out a call for donations of school supplies and good used clothing. Members of our Local, as well as members of Dunbarton/Fairport United Church and students from grade six classes at Gandatsetiagon and Claremont Public Schools collected items and sent several boxes full of donations to the Kasabonika Lake First Nation via Canada Post in time for Easter. Later in the summer, a truck and driver donated for our use by Howard Marten Co. delivered approximately 100 boxes to Pickle Lake, after which they were later flown into Kasabonika by government plane. A second truck delivered donations, including warm winter socks, just before the winter break.
We are very thankful for the generosity of all those who helped pack up the boxes and contributed money and supplies. We have been able to provide school supplies, clothes and food for families in the Kasabonika Lake community. In addition, sewing machines, tablets, a printer, and numerous art supplies have also been donated by generous individuals. The people of Kasabonika Lake First Nation are very thankful for our generosity.
For more information about the Kasabonika Lake First Nation visit their website at: http://kasabonikafirstnation.com/