Friendship centre in Hay River offers elders free snow clearing, firewood
At least 15 elders have received assistance since the program started last month
Elders in and around K'atl'odeeche First Nation and Hay River, N.W.T., can get firewood and have snow cleared for free thanks to a new program launched last month.
The Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre in Hay River started the program on Jan. 24.
"I think it's very important, especially in the cold winter months where they're not really wanting to go outside and bear the coldness," Alina Lizotte, program co-ordinator at the Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre, said on Friday.
"We have lots of young guys that could use the employment and also be helping our elders at the same time."
Jeanna Graham, an elder who lives in K'atl'odeeche First Nation, said one of the program's employees filled up her shed with split wood and also put some inside and right outside her home.
"I think it's important because you're on fixed income and you can't really afford to pay whoever comes here to do things for you," she said.
Graham said she's thankful for this program. She used to provide a similar service for elders years ago, she added.
Clint Bourke, one of the program's employees, said he learned about the opportunity in an ad. He said he finds the elders he assists are grateful for his service.
"If the elders are happy, I'm happy," he said.
Lizotte said the program costs between $5,000 and $7,000.
Fifteen people applied to work in the program, and four were hired for a two-week term. Once the term is over, another four will be hired.
"I think there's a great need. I don't think we realized how big of a response we would get," Lizotte said.
As of last week, 15 elders had used the program. It will continue until the end of the month.