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Arctic Food Bank spreads holiday cheer

Muktuk, salmon and Arctic char were among the many gifts the Arctic Food Bank gave out on a special food distribution day Nov. 28

The Arctic Food Bank handed out more than granola bars and dried pasta Nov. 28.

There were gifts for men and women, as well as backpacks for students from kindergarten to Grade 8.

Muhammad Wani of the Arctic Food Bank holds up some salmon and muktuk they were distributing on Nov. 28. Trevor Wright/NNSL photo

Muktuk, fresh produce, salmon and Arctic char were also given away that day, something regular food bank clients were happy to see.

"Today's distribution we are also giving away Christmas gifts because Christmas is coming," said Muhammad Wani, vice-president of the Islamic Society of Nunavut and the general manager of the Arctic Food Bank in Iqaluit.

"They are really, very much happy to get those gifts."

Food distribution days for the Arctic Food Bank in Iqaluit take place on Saturdays on a bi-weekly basis, with the next distribution day coming up on Dec. 12.

If one cannot make it during those days and still needs food on the table, they are still willing to help people out.

"If somebody needs food, on off-days say if somebody couldn't make it to the food bank, they can always call us and we can provide them the food, even if it's not on a distribution day not a problem, because we don't want anybody to sleep in hunger," said Wani.

"Everyone is welcome, irrespective of their race, caste, class, sect, no problems."

The Arctic Food Bank was inaugurated Sept. 28, 2018.

"We started this food bank with collaboration with Muslim Welfare Canada in Toronto," said Wani. "Basically this is their project, but we are co-operating and collaborating with them."

Every second Saturday the Arctic Food Bank distributes food to the public, helping address food security in Iqaluit. Trevor Wright/NNSL photo

Muslim Welfare Canada opened their first Arctic Food Bank in Inuvik, NT, which launched May of 2015.

Collaborating with Muslim Welfare Canada, the Arctic Food Bank has seen its fair share of people applying for a boost from the food bank.

The food items come in by sealift every year from Muslim Welfare Canada.

"We thought because of the food insecurity here in Nunavut, we thought that people should not go to sleep without having their food."