Inuvik Food Bank executive director Angela McInnes knew the non-profit had been nominated for an award but said she was surprised as anyone else when Health Minister Julie Green announced the food bank was the winner of the 2021 Department of Health and Social Services Healthy Community Award on Feb. 27.
“I was reading the story on Julie Green’s page. When I got to the Halloween hand out we did, I started crying. It's important for me to know that — we try so hard to be included in the community.
"We are not simply a Food Bank."
Nominated for the award by Town of Inuvik Mayor Natasha Kulikowski, the Inuvik Food Bank has served over 50 households in the last year, helping over 200 people avoid hunger.
Green said as the Covid-19 pandemic crippled supply chains and put people out of work, it emphasized the Food Bank's importance to the community.
"Without the continuous efforts of the staff and volunteers with the Inuvik Food Bank, many families and individuals would be at an even greater disadvantage," said Green. "Partnering with their friends from the Inuvik Youth Centre and Ingamo Hall, the organization joined Food Bank Canada.
"After receiving a lump sum of money, they were able to provide apples, oranges, and grapes as well as toothbrushes and toothpaste to the children of Inuvik. With a little treat and a healthy snack, they welcomed children to come to the Food Bank at Halloween to trick or treat so that no child would be left out."
Included with the recognition is a $5,000 cash award to continue in the food bank's important work. McInnes said the organization was still trying to decide what to do with the money, but said they were leaning towards using it for another Halloween gift bag. Another possibility was putting it towards Christmas packages.
Regardless, McInnes said she and the entire food bank were overjoyed with the thanks given to them by the community and the territory.
"Thank you for allowing us into your lives, your homes," she said. "We are in this pandemic together. Stay together, stay strong."