Those left out in the cold during the COVID-19 crisis got a slight boost last week after Northmart Inuvik and IC Regulators Corp joined together to provide 175 food vouchers for those in need around the Inuvik area.
Vouchers were distributed throughout town March 2 to a set list of individuals known to both Northmart manager Kevin Giesberecht and the team of four Regulators — Time Dukeshire, Brandon Villeneuve, Michael Rilling and Bruce Nokadlak.
“We wanted to do something and we didn’t see a lot of big businesses stepping up,” said Nokadlak. “The government’s first response is to help children and people out of work. So we’re keeping everyone on the other end of the spectrum in mind.
Each voucher is good for one in-store made sandwich, a bottle of water and a bag of chips.
A handful of vouchers were left at Northmart and some more dropped off at the Inuvik Warming Shelter.
Nokadlak said the effort was also helpful for people waiting for support from the government but in need some help sooner.
“It’s just another way to help for people who don’t have much,” he added. “It’s something you can get immediately.”
Regulators owner Jay St. Germaine said the idea was hatched by his brother in Inuvik after he had visited him in town last week.
“I was actually getting calls from the north telling me about the isolating and how people weren’t working. So I asked my brother mike what we could do versus sending money directly. He came up with this idea and I called the north store and made it happen,” he said. “All the guys have lived there most of their lives and know all the families. They are going to ensure proper dispersing of the vouchers to the actual ones in need. Among all of them, the vouchers will reach the most unfortunate of the community.
Noting that helping out the community was a solid confidence boost for his workers as well as residents, St. Germaine added that depending on how long the need lasts, he would be open to putting the vouchers out again next month.
“We plan to make this a regular thing during the times. Providing a set amount of vouchers per month till this is over,” he said. “If there are other ways to help that pop up in the meantime we will explore that as well. We are going to do our best to help the less fortunate get through this.
“All the guys are very proud to be giving back to their community. They seem really proud to be a part of it and they want to change their lives with this. I believe this is going to change those guys’ life as well. They are on a welding job right now and happy as pie.”