Donation from COVID-19 mask sale profits helped Inuvik's food bank afford a new freezer

The nearly $1,000 donation to the Inuvik Food Bank couldn’t have come at a better time.

The donation was nearly $1K and came right after a new freezer was bought

An unexpected donation arrived at the perfect time when the Inuvik Food Bank's freezer broke down. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC)

A donation of nearly $1,000 by a local photographer couldn't have come at a better time for the Inuvik Food Bank.

About a month ago, Angela McInnes went to the food bank and noticed something wrong with the freezer.

"We noticed that the fridge-freezer was slightly opened. And we came over and there was snow and blood and everything pouring down on the outsides," said McInnes, chair of the Inuvik Food Bank. "We lost everything on the door. It all had to be dumped."

They ended up throwing out a couple of hundred dollars worth of food.

At first they "MacGyvered" the freezer door, using Velcro to keep it shut. But last week, they finally succumbed and bought a new freezer.

McInnes said normally any money they have goes toward food. They didn't really have the money for a new appliance, but the freezer was needed.

A couple of days later was when local photographer Kristian Binder handed her a cheque — one that covered the cost of the purchase.

"I didn't know about it until Kristian approached me very privately," said McInnes. "It was very exciting because we needed the donation considering the purchase of the appliances. So it was just perfect timing."

Binder runs a photography business, Eighty One Images, in Inuvik. (Submitted by Kristian Binder)

Binder runs a photography business, Eighty One Images, and for the past couple of years, Art of Where in Montreal has been making items for him with the images he takes — like leggings, scarves, and beanies.

When the company started to make face masks, he knew right away he wanted to get some made with a few of his favourite images, which include a couple of photos that feature local resident Denise McDonald's bead work. 

"Once the sales started I decided I didn't want to keep the profits I normally get for myself, just because my job hasn't really been affected by the situation," said Binder. "So I thought the food bank would be a good choice."

He wasn't expecting the response the masks received, but said they have been shipping to all over Canada.

"I was hoping to sell a few. I was hoping if I had a $200 donation to make that would be cool, but it's well past that."

Three of Binder's masks, including one featuring the beadwork of local artist Denise McDonald (left). (Submitted by Kristian Binder)

Binder said this is just the first donation, and the profits from the sales will continue to go to the Inuvik Food Bank.

He wants those hoping to place orders to know that the manufacturer is a bit back-ordered due to the demand with masks, "so be aware there will probably be a wait time of three weeks."

For McInnes, she's thankful for the donation at the right time, especially in the midst of the pandemic.

"During this time, it's actually beautiful to see … how everyone is supporting each other," she said. "When things like this happen you are thankful and happy."

"Knowing that he's doing this that's wonderful. I hope people appreciate the gift it is."

The food bank's new freezer is already filling up. 'It was just perfect timing,' said McInnes. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC)


  • A previous version of this story named Debbie McDonald as the local resident whose beadwork is featured. In fact, her name is Denise McDonald.
    Jul 05, 2020 1:48 PM CT


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.