Every community brings its own approach to coping with the Covid-19 pandemic, Norman Wells included.
It’s all about the food. In addition to Mackenzie Mountain School’s healthy food hamper program, the Norman Wells town council has built a food pantry in front of the town hall where residents can access food for free.
“I started the pantry program because I know that in this season the pandemic has been hard for families in need. We gave it the theme ‘give what you can and take what you need,’” said Christine Legare, Youth and Elder Centre co-ordinator.
The pantry, set up on May 1, is installed outside the hall building and at night the food items that can’t handle the cold are taken inside.
It initially consisted of one big metal box but the project proved to be so popular that the town built and added a “more pantry-like” wooden cupboard with doors, said Alex Millette, Recreation Director.
It cost the town little to put together because the equipment was already available through the Public Works department.
Residents of the Sahtu town have dropped off non-perishable items like pasta, canned goods, powder mixes, cereals and other foods.
“We just put it out to the community, saying if you have goods to donate please come in and put them in the box. It’s there for people to access,” said Millette.
“There is no contact. We do the social distancing measures and we have Lysol wipes as well. But the community has been giving and also taking. It’s been a great community effort,” he said.
“People have been giving enough that people have been taking a lot of items. With the support of the community people know what they need. We haven’t had any hoarding. It has balanced itself out well.”
Whether it’s going out onto the land or coordinating local activities through the radio, the pandemic has pushed communities to work together and reassess their needs, and Norman Wells is no exception.
“During this Covid pandemic we’ve seen the community come together to do programs like this. It has made the community much stronger,” said Millette. “The pantry thing tops that off.”