Sudbury

Donations from southern Ontario heading to Attawapiskat

Residents in the remote northern Ontario community of Attawapiskat will soon be getting a shipment of school supplies, warm winter clothing and hand-crafted baby items.
Director of True North Aid, George Woodward, says two skids or more than 450 kg of donations, are heading to Attawapiskat. The items were donated by southern Ontario residents. (True North Aid Facebook)

Residents in the remote northern Ontario community of Attawapiskat will soon be getting a shipment of school supplies, warm winter clothing and hand-crafted baby items.

The items were all donated through collection drives held by several non-profit agencies in southern Ontario.

The project was spearheaded by the Canadian, non-profit, humanitarian group, True North Aid.

The group sends help and supplies into isolated, fly-in northern communities in Canada.

Director George Woodward says about two skids worth of donations — totalling more than 450 kilograms — will be flown into Attawapiskat early next week.

He says he understands this shipment won't solve the long-term problems in the community.

"In the middle of all of that there's a whole group of people that are really in need and really desperate," Woodward said.

"So we want to try to help them on their day-to-day living and see if there is any way we can help elevate their living conditions and living standards and ... help them along the way."

Woodward says this isn't the first time True North Aid has sent donations to Attawapiskat. But he says he feels southern Ontario residents were generous this time around because of the hardships reported in the news lately.

The non-profit group Safetynet Clothing Donation program held a drive asking for donations of school supplies for Attawapiskat in northern Ontario. They were able to fill a car with those donations. (Safetynet Clothing Donation program Facebook)

A small drive with big results

Safetynet Clothing Donation program in Oakville, Ont. collected school supplies for students in Attawapiskat. Founder and executive director Bill Shields says their collection drive was just five days. 

"When we did it, we filled up a car and then some with school supplies," he said.

"We had so many backpacks donated, and these backpacks were filled with schools supplies as well. We put it together quite quickly and didn't get a chance to do a whole tally, but the community was quite generous with the amount of stuff that what was donated," says Sheilds.

Woodward says, as Canadians, we need to recognize that there are some very desperate situations in our country.

"Sometimes we often think about how can we help the people in Africa ... that's all well and good," he said.

"I think we should try and continue to do that. But we also have — what I designate sometimes as — third world conditions right here in our nation. We need to have our eyes wide open and our arms open to try to help those that are within our country as well."

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