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Christmas fundraiser supports food banks

Each Baffin community received a cheque for $7,622.50 for Christmas this year, thanks to the Qikiqtani Annual Charity Ball held in early December at Iqaluit's Frobisher Inn.

"We usually sell about 350 tickets," said Qikiqtaaluk Corporation (QC) president Harry Flaherty.

"If we did have a bigger place I'm pretty sure we would sell out. As soon as the tickets go on sale we sell out within a couple of weeks."

A fundraiser in Nunavut's capital in December, which raised an unprecedented $106,715 led to food banks and hamlets in the Qikitaaluk region receiving $7,622.50 each. Nunavut Sivuniksavut also received a cheque in that amount.
photo courtesy Qikiqtaaluk Corporation

This is the fourth year gala event co-hosted by QC, Canadian North and NCC Investment Group Inc.

"It used to be a First Air Gala. They raised funds for the help line and other organizations. When they folded, QC thought it was appropriate to continue with this fundraising program," he said.

"We looked at the communities and we know that during the Christmas holidays people in the communities can't all afford to have a decent meal or Christmas dinner, so we decided to get this program running again for all the food banks in the communities."

Flaherty said the first year, the organizing trio raised close to $30,000 and were very excited.

"The following year we raised close to $50,000. Last year, we were able to raise a little over $60,000 and we were pretty impressed with that. But this year it caught us by surprise that we were able to raise over $100,000," he said.

"It's amazing how much people are willing to help out and businesses are able to help out the communities. I was pretty shocked when they gave me the final number, which was $106,715."

Flaherty said the tickets cover the meal and the event, but the auctions and silent auction bring in the money.

That's thanks to local businesses, and Canadian North which auctioned a number of flight tickets, as well as tickets to the Grey Cup.

"It was an excellent event," said Flaherty.

Nine cheques went directly to community food banks, with the rest going directly to the four hamlets without food banks.

"We received the letter and cheque last week," said Kimmirut senior administrative officer Kimberley Young Jan. 9.

"We do not have a food bank here, but we had some funding left over from our Christmas Hamper Project and it was decided that we would combine the two amounts and offer a small food hamper to each household in Kimmirut, that way the entire community would benefit from the funds available."

Nunavut Sivuniksavut in Ottawa also received a cheque for $7,622.50.

"We decided to add Nunavut Sivuniksavut … to help them out in acquiring a new residence they've been looking at," said Flaherty, adding QC has been supportive of that effort and heavily involved in the process for the past four years.

"Those organizations have all been great supporters of NS," said Nunavut Sivuniksavut's Morley Hanson.

Flaherty also noted the success of the evening had much to do with the entertainment, which this year included Iqaluit band Inuuqatigiit and singer/songwriter Mary Itorcheak.

Inuuqatigiit, previously known as the Daniel Kolola Band, played for guests at December's Qikiqtani Annual Charity Ball, as did Mary Itorcheak – which raised a whopping $106,715 this year.
photo courtesy Michel Albert