The communities of Sanikiluaq and Cambridge Bay have found innovative ways of keeping children nourished with healthy food during the summer break.

Like many places in Nunavut, both communities operate programs to feed students during the school year.

However, much of that programming disappears during the summer months, when children spend most of their time outside and many local education staff are on holidays, which poses a significant problem in a territory marked by high food costs.

“There’s eight weeks when school is out, and some of the kids aren’t getting breakfast at home,” said Ron Ladd, Sanikiluaq’s senior administrative officer.

For the second year in a row, Sanikiluaq has been combatting this problem by providing free breakfasts to local children for the eight weeks of summer vacation, in partnership with Food Banks Canada’s After the Bell program, and the local Co-Op.

Food Banks Canada provides the bulk of the ingredients required for the breakfasts — primarily cereal, cereal bars and drinks — which are shipped to the community by the Co-Op.

That food is then divided into bags by a team of 16 older students, hired by the municipality with funding from the federal government and the Kakivak Association. The students also supplement each bag with fresh fruit and milk purchased from the Co-Op. The bags are then distributed at the local arena.

“One bag equals five breakfasts,” Ladd explained. “So every Monday or Tuesday, the kids come up, they grab a bag of fresh fruit and cereal bars and cereal, and they at least have breakfast for the mornings.”

This year, the hamlet estimated it would require 600 bags of food per week, which works out to 4,800 bags over the eight weeks of summer break.

Food Banks Canada provided enough food for 4,000 bags, which will be extended to 4,800 bags with the addition of fresh fruit from the Co-Op.

The hamlet bears the bulk of the cost of fruit. However, Food Banks Canada also provided $10,000 in funding to diminish costs.

“Last year we spent $57,000 of hamlet money making sure kids had healthy breakfasts, but this year, it’s not quite that much,” Ladd said.

That might sound like a large sum, but Ladd estimates the municipality distributed almost $400,000 worth of food last summer — the vast majority of which was donated by the food bank — and that amount will be exceeded this summer.

“When you see the kids smiling and getting a healthy breakfast, it’s all worth it,” he said. “They’re definitely thankful.”

Easing the strain on the food bank

Cambridge Bay has implemented a similar program to keep local children fed when they’re out of school.

The hamlet has long provided breakfasts and lunches for local children during the school year, but until this year, that stopped during the summer months.

“We kept seeing these kids on the streets, and most of them don’t have breakfast, and at lunchtime are just wandering around town,” said James Ayodele, director of Cambridge Bay’s Department of Healthy Living. “We felt it didn’t make any sense to feed them during the school year then stop feeding them when the school year is out. They’re not going to stop getting hungry because there’s no school.”

Cambridge Bay’s summer breakfast and lunch programs are funded entirely by the Government of Nunavut’s Department of Health. Ayodele estimates the cost of the summer program ranges from $100,000 to $150,000.

The food is distributed from the community hall, from Monday to Friday.

Breakfasts always include some kind of cereal, but also feature an alternating menu of items like eggs, bacon, sausage and hashbrowns. Lunches are “more robust,” according to Ayodele, and can comprise everything from spaghetti to country food, such as caribou soup. Drinks are provided with both meals.

“Many of them that don’t have food at home for whatever reason,” he said. “We open the space for them to be able to have two meals a day.”

The community’s Department of Healthy Living is also responsible for the local food bank, which operates year-round.

The expansion of the community’s breakfast and lunch program takes some of strain off the food bank during the summer months, and ensures that parents only need to provide one meal a day for their kids.

“The food security situation in Cambridge Bay is not so different from what we have in other Nunavut communities,” said Ayodele. “It’s really hard and difficult for people to purchase healthy food here because of the cost and the availability as well.

“We try to give them as much as we can afford [through the food bank], but at the same time, this is not usually enough,” he added. “The breakfast and lunch program, we see it as a way to take a bit of the load off of the food bank, because then the food we give people from the food bank can go longer than it normally would, because once we feed the kids twice a day, all they have to do is have dinner at home.”

ᓄᓇᓖᒃ ᓴᓂᑭᓗᐊᕐᒥ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐃᖃᓄᒃᑑᑎᐊᕐᓂ ᓂᕿᑦᑎᐊᕙᓕᕆᓂᕐᒥᒃ ᐱᓕᕆᓲᖑᕗᑦ ᓄᑕᖅᑲᑦ ᓂᕆᓯᒪᑦᑎᐊᖁᓪᓗᒋᑦ ᓂᕿᑦᑎᐊᕙᓂᒃ ᓄᖃᖓᓐᓇᓕᕌᖓᒥ ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᖅᑐᓄᑦ ᐊᐅᔭᒃᑯᑦ.

ᐊᓯᖏᑎᑐᑦ ᓄᓇᓖᒃ ᓄᓇᕗᒻᒥ, ᑕᒪᐃᓐᓄᑦ ᓄᓇᓖᑦ ᓂᕿᑦᑎᐊᕙᓕᕆᓂᖃᖅᑎᑎᖃᑦᑕᖅᐳᑦ ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᕐᓇᒃᑯᑦ.

ᐱᓪᓗᒍ, ᐱᓕᕆᐊᕆᔭᐅᖃᑦᑕᖅᑐᑦ ᓄᖃᖅᑳᑎᒋᕙᖕᒪᑕ ᑎᑭᒃᑳᖓᑦ ᐊᐅᔭᖅ, ᓄᑕᖅᑲᑦ ᐊᓃᖏᓐᓇᓕᖅᖢᑎᒃ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᖅᑐᓕᕆᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᐃᖃᓇᐃᔭᖅᑐᑦ ᓄᖃᖓᓇᓕᖅᐸᒃᖢᑎ, ᐊᑲᐅᖏᓕᐅᕈᑎᐅᓕᖅᐸᒃᖢᓂ ᓄᓇᕗᒻᒥᐅᓄᑦ ᐊᑭᑐᓂᖅᐹᖑᑎᓪᓗᒋᑦ ᓂᖀᑦ.

‘8-ᓄᑦ ᐱᓇᓱᐊᕈᓯᕐᓄᑦ ᓄᖃᖓᓐᓇᐅᕙᖕᒪᑦ, ᐃᓚᖏᑦ ᓄᑕᖅᑲᑦ ᐅᓪᓛᕈᒻᒥᑕᖅᐸᖏᖦᖢᑎᒃ ᐊᖏᕋᒥᓂᒃ.’ ᐅᖃᖅᐳᖅ ᕌᓐ ᓛᓐ ᑎᑎᕋᕐᕕᖕᒧᑦ ᐊᐅᓚᑦᑎᔨ.

ᐊᕌᒍᑦ ᒪᕈᑦ ᐊᓂᒍᖅᓯᒪᓕᖅᑐᖅ ᓴᓂᑭᓗᐊᕐᒥᐅᑦ ᐊᒃᓱᕈᖅᖢᑎᒃ ᓴᕿᔮᑎᑎᓇᓱᒃᓯᒪᖕᒪᑕ ᐊᔪᕐᓇᖅᑐᕙᒃᖢᓂ ᓂᕆᑎᑦᑎᓂᖅ ᐅᓪᓛᕈᒻᒥᑕᕐᓂᒃ ᓄᑕᖃᓄᑦ ᐱᓇᓱᐊᕈᓯᑦ 8-ᓄᑦ ᓄᖃᖓᖅᑎᓪᓗᒋᑦ, ᐱᓕᕆᖃᑎᖃᕆᐊᒃᓴᖅ ᑲᓇᑕᒥ ᓂᕿᑦᑎᐊᕙᖃᖅᑐᓕᕆᔨᖏᓐᓂᒃ ᐱᐅᓪ ᐱᓕᕆᐊᖅ ᓴᕿᑕᐅᓚᐅᖅᑎᓪᓗᒍ, ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᑯᐊᐸᒃᑯᑦ.

ᑲᓇᑕᒃᑯᑦ ᓂᕿᖃᑦᑎᐊᖅᑐᓕᕆᔨᖏᑦ ᑐᓂᐅᖃᐃᓲᖑᖕᒪᑕ ᐅᓪᓛᕈᒻᒥᑕᕐᓂᒃ, ᐃᒥᒐᒃᓴᓂᒃ ᓇᒃᓯᐅᔾᔭᐅᕙᒃᖢᑎᒃ ᑯᐊᐸᑯᑎᒍᑦ.

ᐴᖃᐃᔨᑦ ᓂᕿᓂᒃ 16-ᖑᔪᑦ ᐊᖓᔪᒃᓯᐅᓂᖅᓴᐅᔪᑦ ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᖅᑐᓂᒃ, ᐃᖃᓇᐅᔮᖃᖅᑎᑕᐅᔪᑦ ᐱᔨᑦᑎᕋᖅᑕᐅᕕᖏᓐᓂ ᑮᓇᐅᔭᖃᖅᑎᑕᐅᓪᓗᑎᒃ ᒐᕙᒪᑐᖃᒃᑯᓐᓂ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᑲᑭᕙᒃ ᑲᑐᔨᖃᑎᒌᑯᓐᓂ. ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᖅᑐᑦ ᑐᓐᓂᖅᓴᖅᑕᐅᕙᒃᖢᑎᒃ ᐴᒃᓴᐅᑎ ᐃᓗᓕᓕᒃ ᓰᕐᓇᖅᑐᓂᒃ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐃᒧᖕᓂᑦ ᓂᐅᕕᖅᑕᐅᔪᑦ ᑯᐊᐸᒃᑯᓐᓂ. ᓂᖀᑦ ᑐᓂᖅᓴᑕᐅᓕᖅᐸᒃᑐᑦ ᓯᐊᕆᔮᕐᕕᖕᒥᑦ.’

ᐊᑕᐅᓯᖅ ᐴᒃᓴᐅᑎ ᐃᓗᓕᓕᒃ ᑕᓪᓕᒪᐃᓱᖅᑕᐅᓪᓗᐊᖅᑐᖅ ᐅᓪᓛᑯᑐᒐᒃᓴᖅ,’ ᓛᑦ ᐅᖃᖅᐳᖅ. ‘ᐱᔾᔪᑎᒋᓪᓗᒍ ᓇᒡᒐᔾᔭᒥ ᐅᕝᕙᓘᓐᓃᑦ ᐊᐃᑉᐹᓂ, ᓄᑕᖅᑲᑦ ᖃᐃᓲᖑᕗᑦ, ᐴᒃᓴᐅᑎᑖᖅᐸᒃᖢᑎᒃ ᓰᕐᓇᖅᑐᓕᖕᓂᑦ, ᐅᓪᓛᑯᑐᒐᑦ, ᐊᒃᓱᓪᓘᓐᓂᑦ ᓂᕆᔭᒃᓴᖃᖅᐸᖕᒪᑕ ᐅᓪᓛᒃᑯᑦ.’

ᐊᕐᕌᒍᒋᔭᑦᑎᓐᓂ Hᐊᒻᒪᓚᒃᑯᑦ ᐆᒃᑐᖅᓯᒪᔪᒃᑯᑦ ᓇᐃᓴᐅᑦ 600 ᐴᒃᓴᐅᑦ ᓂᕿᓂᒃ ᐃᓗᓕᓕᒃ ᑐᓂᖅᓴᐃᓇᔭᖅᐳᑦ ᐱᓇᓱᐊᕈᓯᖅ ᐊᑕᐅᓯᕐᒧᑦ, ᑲᑎᓕᒪᖅᖢᒍ 4,800 ᐴᒃᓴᐅᑦ ᐱᓇᓱᐊᕈᓯᕐᓄᑦ 8 ᓄᖃᖓᓐᓇᒥ ᐊᐅᔭᒃᑯᑦ.

ᓂᕿᖃᑦᑎᐊᖅᑐᓕᕆᔩᑦ ᑲᓇᑕᒥ ᑐᓂᓯᓚᐅᖅᐳᑦ ᓂᕿᑦ ᐴᖅᓯᒪᔪᑦ 4000, ᐃᓚᔭᐅᓂᐊᑐᖅ 4800-ᖑᖅᑎᑕᐅᓗᓂ ᓰᕐᓇᖅᑐᓂᒃ ᑯᐊᐸᑯᓐᓂ.

Hᐊᒻᒪᓚᒃᑯᑦ ᑲᒪᕙᒃᑲᓗᐊᖅᖢᑎᒃ ᐊᑭᖏᓐᓄᑦ ᓰᕐᓇᖅᑐᓂᒃ. ᑭᓯᐊᓂᓕ, ᓂᕿᖃᑦᑎᐊᖅᑐᓕᕆᔩᑦ ᑲᓇᑕᒥᑐᓂᓯᓚᐅᖅᐳᑦ ᑐᒃᓯᕋᐅᑎᒃᑰᖅᓯᒪᔪᒥᒃ $10,000-ᒥ ᐊᑭᓕᐅᑎᒃᓴᓄᑦ.

‘ᐊᕐᕌᓂ $57,000 Hᐊᒻᒪᓚᒃᑯᑦ ᑮᓇᐅᔭᖓᓂ ᐊᑐᖅᖢᑎᒃ ᓄᑕᖅᑲᑦ ᐅᓛᕈᒻᒥᑕᖃᑦᑕᖁᒧᑦ, ᐊᕌᒍᒋᔭᑦᑎᓐᓂ, ᐅᓄᖏᓐᓂᖅᓴᐅᓵᖅᑐᖅ,’ ᓛᑦ ᐅᖃᖅᐳᖅ.

‘ᐅᓄᖅᑰᔨᔫᒐᓗᐊᖅ ᑕᒪᓐᓇ, ᑭᓯᐊᓂ ᓛᑦ ᐆᒃᑐᖅᓯᒪᔪᒃᑯᑦ ᓇᐃᓴᐅᑦ ᐱᔨᑦᑎᕋᖅᑕᐅᕝᕖᑦ ᑐᓂᓯᓚᐅᖅᓯᒪᖕᒪᑕ $400,00- ᕌᖅᑐᒥᒃ ᓂᕿᓂᒃ ᐊᕐᕌᓂ, ᐊᖏᓂᖅᓴᐅᓂᐊᖅᑐᖅ ᐊᐅᔭᐅᔪᒥ.

‘ᑕᑯᓪᓗᒋ ᓄᑕᖅᖃᑦ ᖁᖓᔮᖅᑐᑦ ᓂᕿᑦᑎᐊᕙᖕᒥᓗ ᐱᓪᓗᑎᒃ, ᐱᒻᒪᕆᐊᕗᖅ,’ ᐅᖃᖅᐳᖅ. ‘ᖁᔭᓕᑦᑎᐊᓲᑦ.’ ᐃᖃᓗᑦᑑᑦᑎᐊᖅ ᐊᔾᔨᑦᑎᐊᕐᒥᒃ ᐱᓕᕆᐊᖃᖅᓯᒪᒋᕗᑦ ᓄᑕᖃᓂᑦ ᓂᕿᖃᑦᑎᐊᖅᑎᑎᓇᓱᖕᓂᕐᒥᒃ ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᕈᓐᓃᕌᖓᑕ.

Hᒻᒪᓚᒃᑯᑦ ᑐᓐᓂᖅᓴᐅᓯᒪᖃᑦᑕᓚᐅᖅᐳᑦ ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᕐᓇᓗᒃᑖᖅ, ᑭᓯᐊᓂ ᐊᕌᒍᒋᔭᑦᑎᓐᓂ ᓄᖃᓚᐅᖅᐳᑦ, ᐊᐅᔭᒃᑯᑦ ᓄᖃᐅᒥᓚᐅᖅᖢᓂ.

‘ᓄᑕᖃᓂᑦ ᑕᑯᑲᑕᐃᓐᓇᓚᐅᖅᐳᒍᑦ ᐊᖁᑎᒦᑐᓂᒃ,ᐃᓚᖏᑦ ᓂᕆᕙᖏᖦᖢᑎᒃ, ᓂᕆᓐᓇᒥᓪᓗ ᑕᒪᓂᕆᕙᒃᖢᑎᒃ ᓄᓇᓕᖕᓂ,’ ᐅᖃᖅᐳᖅ ᔭᐃᒥᓯ ᐅᐃᔪᑎᐅ, ᐃᖃᓗᒃᑑᑎᐊᕐᒥᑦ ᐃᓱᒪᑕᖅ ᐃᓅᓯᖃᑦᑎᐊᖅᑐᓕᕆᓂᕐᒧᑦ. ‘ᑐᑭᓯᓚᐅᖏᑕᕗᑦ, ᓂᕆᑎᐊᓪᓚᓚᐅᕐᓗᑎᒍ ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᕐᓇᒥ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᓄᖃᖅᑎᓕᕐᓗᑎᒍᑦ ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᕐᓇᖅ ᐊᓂᒍᖅᐸᑦ. ᑳᒍᓐᓃᔮᖏᒻᒪᑕ ᓄᖃᖔᕋᒥᒃ ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᖅᑕᒥᓂᒃ.’

ᐃᖃᓗᒃᑑᑎᐊᕐᓂ ᐅᓪᓛᕈᒻᒥᑕᖅᑎᑦᑎᔩᑦ ᑮᓇᐅᔭᖃᖅᑎᑕᐅᓚᐅᖅᐳᑦ ᓄᓇᕗᑦ ᒐᕙᒪᒃᑯᓐᓂ – ᐃᓄᓯᖃᑦᑎᐊᖅᑐᓕᕆᔩᑦ. ᐆᒃᑐᖅᑕᐅᓯᒪᔪᒃᑯᑦ ᑮᓇᐅᔭᖅ $100,000-$150,000 ᐊᐅᔭᐃᓐᓇᖅ ᐊᑐᕐᓗᒍ.

ᓂᕿᑦ ᑐᓐᓂᖅᓴᖅᑕᐅᕙᑦᑐᑦ ᐱᖑᐊᕐᕕᖕᒥ, ᓇᒡᒐᔭᒥ ᐅᓪᓗᑐᐃᓐᓇᕐᒧᑦ.

ᐅᓪᓛᕈᒻᒥᑕᕐᓇᖅ ᐃᓚᓕᒃ ᐅᓪᓛᕈᒻᒥᑕᓂᒃ, ᐱᔪᒥᓇᖅᑐᓂᒃ ᓲᕐᓗ ᒪᓐᓂᒃ ᐃᓚᖃᐅᖅᑐᖅ ᐃᓚᒃᓴᒥᓂᒃ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐸᑦᑕᐃᑐᓂᒃ. ᓂᕆᓐᓇᒥ ᐅᓪᓗᒃᑯᑦ ‘ᓂᕿᓪᓚᑦᑖᓂᒃ’ ᐅᖃᖅᐳᖅ ᐊᔫᑎᐅ, ᓯᐱᑭᑎᒥᒃ, ᓂᕿᓪᓚᑦᑖᕐᓂᓪᓗ, ᑐᒃᑐᒥᒃ. ᐃᒥᒐᒃᓴᖃᖅᑎᑕᐅᕙᒃᖢᑎᒃ.

‘ᐅᓄᖅᑐᑦ ᓂᕆᔭᒃᓴᖃᖏᒻᒪᑕ ᐊᖏᕋᒥᓂ ᐱᔾᔪᑎᖃᖅᑐᓂᒃ,’ ᐅᖃᖅᐳᖅ. ‘ᐅᒃᑯᐅᖓᕗᒍᑦ ᓂᕆᖁᔨᓪᓗᑕ ᒪᕈᐃᕐᓗᓂ ᐅᓪᓗᖅ.’

ᓄᓇᓕᐅᑉ ᐃᓄᓯᖃᑦᑎᐊᖅᑐᓕᕆᔨᖏᑦ ᑲᒪᓱᖑᒋᕗᑦ ᓄᓇᓕᖕᒧᑦ ᓂᕿᓂᒃ ᐊᐃᒃᓯᕐᕕᒃ, ᐅᑯᐃᖓᐃᓇᐅᔭᖅᑐᖅ ᐊᕋᒍᓕᒪᖅ.

‘ᐊᖏᓪᓕᑎᖅᑕᐅᓇᓱᖕᓂᖓ ᓄᓇᓕᖕᒧᑦ ᐅᓪᓛᕈᒻᒥᑕᕐᕕᒃ ᐃᑳᔫᑎᖃᓲᖑᖕᒪᑦ ᓂᕿᓄᑦ ᐊᐃᒃᓯᑲᑕᒡᕕᖕᒧᑦ ᐊᐅᔭᐅᓕᕋᖓᑦ, ᐊᖓᔪᖅᖄᑦ ᓂᐅᕕᓗᐊᖁᖏᖦᖢᒋᑦ ᐊᖏᕋᒥ ᕿᑐᖓᒥᓐᓄᑦ.

‘ᐃᖃᓗᑦᑑᑎᐊᕐᓂ ᐊᔪᕈᑎᖃᖏᓐᓂᖅᓴᐅᔪᑦ ᓂᕿᖃᑦᑎᐊᖅᑎᑦᑎᓇᓱᖕᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᐅᔾᔨᕆᔭᒃᑯᑦ ᑕᑯᓪᓗᒍᒋᑦ ᓄᓇᓖᑦ ᓄᓇᕗᒻᒥ,’ ᐅᖃᐳᖅ ᐊᔫᑎᐅ. ‘ᐊᔪᕐᓇᕐᒪᑦ ᐃᓄᖕᓄᑦ ᓂᕿᑦᑎᐊᕙᓂᒃ ᓂᐅᕕᑲᑕᐃᓐᓇᕆᐊᒃᓴᖅ ᐊᑭᖏᑦ ᐱᔾᔪᑎᒋᓪᓗᒋᑦ, ᒪᓂᒪᔪᓪᓗ ᓂᕿᑦ ᐱᔾᔪᑎᒋᓪᓗᒍ.

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