$6 soup, $7 canned tomatoes prompt food bank, school lunch program in Nain
A survey found that nearly 80 per cent of homes in the Inuit community have trouble getting food
People in Nain are taking steps to increase food security after a survey found nearly 80 per cent of households in the Inuit community have difficulty accessing food.
"It's not uncommon for adults or even seniors to be missing meals in order to ensure their kids have the food they require," Kaila de Boer, the Nunatsiavut government's director of mental wellness and healing told CBC's Labrador Morning.
Along with Nunatsiavut staff and Nain's food security committee, she's helping roll out a pilot project called Healthy Lunch-2-Go — a two-month initiative providing K-12 students with a sandwich, granola bar and fruit at lunch hour.
Community volunteers are also working to create Nain's first-ever food bank.
Nunatsiavut staff are making up 100 paper-bag lunches each day, which is enough to cover most of Nain's students.
"Given that we know how high the rates are of food insecurity, it's important that we have it as open to everybody as we can," said de Boer.
The trial program is running during January and February because they're Nain's coldest months.
"We wanted to make sure that kids had a healthy meal and that it was hopefully going to cut down on extended walks home."
Nain is the province's northernmost community. As such, food prices can be extremely high.
"You'll go to the store and you'll see a can of soup that's on sale for four dollars, five dollars, six dollars. A can of tomatoes, that's like seven dollars — It's really expensive," said resident Brenda Jararuse.
She's trying to start a food bank, enlisting other locals to volunteer and help her.
There are some programs that subsidize the cost of produce and meat or provide free game but non-perishable items aren't included, according to Jarause.
Starting a food bank is something she's thought about doing since high school.
She's acting on it now after moving back to Nain and learning that 80 per cent of her community struggle with food security.
"I always knew there were hungry people in the community but I didn't know there was that many," she said.
Her hope is that the airline servicing the north coast will help with discounted shipping rates in order to get canned and packaged foods to the coastal community at a cheaper rate.
She's found a group of volunteers willing to help organize and run things. Their first meeting to discuss fundraising and a location for the food bank is on Monday.
With files from Bailey White