Inuvik mosque to stock new food bank with country food

They've built Canada's northernmost mosque. Now the Islamic community in Inuvik is building a food bank in the Arctic featuring freezer space for traditional meat and fish.
Imam Abdul Azim addresses worshippers at the Midnight Sun Mosque in Inuvik, N.W.T. The mosque is set to open its new food bank in December with a freezer stocked full of country food, such as Arctic char and caribou. (David Thurton/CBC)

They've built Canada's northernmost mosque. Now the Islamic community in Inuvik, N.W.T., is building a food bank in the arctic community.

“Any society where food and cost of living is very expensive, that community needs help," says Imam Abdul Azim. "As a Muslim community it is incumbent on us to extend this help to all the people that live in the North.”

In addition to canned and dry goods, the food bank is working with elders to stock their freezers with country food, such as fish, Arctic char and caribou.

Like any other people they have traditional foods, so we have our system set up where we can access the fish and the caribou — not only seasonally, but the year long.”

The new food bank is being built behind the Midnight Sun Mosque. It will include freezers to store the meat and fish, and is expected to open by December.

“There's a lot of people who cannot afford to go hunting,” says Ruth Wright, who volunteers in the community’s homeless shelter.

“There's a lot of people who have not had kidneys or heart since their grandparents died because they just can't afford to go get it.”

For Imam Azim, the project is something he hopes to see elsewhere in the Arctic.

“Inuvik is just the first stop. It is just the beginning.”