Sometimes the news can be rather depressing (although it’s better to be informed than uninformed).

Covid-19 dominates the headlines. A staffing crisis at Stanton Territorial Hospital. A shooting in Yellowknife and other crime. Climate change affecting the North.

Despite it all, there are many generous, giving souls among us.

Case in point: the local YWCA reached its fundraising goal for its Holiday Family Sponsorship Program so quickly that staff were left astounded. YWCA president Kate Reid is sure the rapid influx of sponsors to aid families around the city came in record time in November.

“Usually we’re fully subscribed by December but this time it was lickety split. It was really fantastic to see so much interest in the community,” Reid said.

That means an estimated 100 families – about 250 children – are expected to enjoy a happier holiday season.

“We’re over the moon,” said Reid.

Another recent example of Yellowknifers’ generosity would be the support shown to the family of the late Elke Richter, a resident known to many for operating the German-Mediterranean restaurant Elke’s Table and, before that, for her work at Bullock’s Bistro. A GoFundMe that aimed to raise $3,000 for her closest relatives exceeded $4,000 within a couple of days as of Nov. 23.

“It is so wonderful to see that the fundraising goal of $3,000 has been surpassed so quickly,” the fundraiser’s creator wrote.

There have been myriad successful local GoFundMe campaigns just like that one.

And there are numerous other instances when Yellowknifers have stepped up in a heartfelt way. In January, the Yellowknife Community Foundation passed a milestone of $5 million in total donations since the organization was founded in 1993. That has helped fund oodles of scholarships and grants for deserving Yellowknife students, many of whom have returned to benefit the city with their flourishing expertise.

Last year, Avens actually had to put a halt to its Operation Care on Wheels campaign to buy a new shuttle bus for senior citizens at its facilities. The objective was to bring in $125,000 over five months. That effort was curbed after just one month when contributions hit a total of $140,000.

“The outpouring of support is pretty special. We were taken aback by the generosity,” Avens CEO Daryl Dolynny said at the time.

NWT tax filers who reported their financial acts of charity in 2019 ranked in a tie for fourth in Canada in terms of median donations. The typical NWT tax filer gave away $470 that year, according to Statistics Canada, trailing only Nunavut ($630), Alberta ($500), British Columbia ($480).

With Christmas fast approaching, there are still ongoing fundraisers. The YWCA has been seeking donations for women and children at the Lynn’s Place shelter and the organization can always find use for gift cards for local shops or grocery offerings for its clients.

The Salvation Army, a perennial bright light during the holiday season, has its toy drive and its kettle campaign underway. In addition to money, there’s usually a need for volunteers to ring those bells and attract attention from passersby, as well as to thank them for their contributions.

Even there, the kettle campaign surpassed its donation goal in December 2019.

It’s because Yellowknifers have proven time and again that they have it in them to give throughout the year, and even amid a pandemic.

Derek Neary

Derek Neary has been reporting on developments in the North for 18 years. When he's not writing for Nunavut News, he's working on Northern News Services' special publications such as Opportunities North,...

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