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North of 60

by | May 20, 2016 | News, Society of St. Vincent de Paul

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The Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Western Canada implemented North of 60 (Au nord du 60), which is a solidarity project to help the poor people of Arctic Communities. Below are excerpts from the 2015 report by Peter Ouellette who serves as President of the Western Regional Council:

The Beginning of the Project

Sister Fay Trombley of Tuktoyaktuk, Eileen Orysiuk of Calgary and other members of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul had no idea that Canada-des-nouvelles-du-grand-nord_largethe work they started several years ago would build to what it is today. Thanks to the generous support from Corporations and members of the Catholic Community in Edmonton, the SSVP North of 60 Project supplied food, household products and other items of necessity to those who have less living in Canadian Arctic Communities.  This year, eight sea cans were shipped, supporting nine communities. The program has grown in momentum and improved with more control in sorting and distribution of donated items. We are getting better.

What products are shipped?

Over the last few years we have developed the principle of shipping only what the Community asks for.  Our contact in the Arctic Community is introduced to a contact in the Edmonton area and a rapport is established such that communication is honest and open.  Food security is the primary focus of this project.  Food pricing is high and selection is limited. A food product list has been developed . Volumes are sized based on the specific Northern Community population and the sea containers are loaded with this volume. Most of the food is donated in smaller lots from 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 product are being developed. Clothing, bedding, household items and other necessities are also shipped, as well as items specifically requested by the Arctic Community contact.  These 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.  This cash is used to make bulk purchases from the likes of Bulk Barn, Costco, Medallion Milk, etc., and these products are brought to our warehouse and distributed to round out the food donations for each of the Communities.

The program has also expanded north east as members of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul in the Eastern Canadian Regions initiate similar programs to support Arctic Communities across the Canadian North. As we begin the planning for next year, we have increased the support from both Catholic and non-Catholic Parishes, as well as Corporations providing the needed transportation logistics that are necessary to continue. The target for 2016 for this SSVP Western Region program will grow to nine sea cans supporting 10 Communities.

Source: SSVP Global

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