Hope in a Bag of Berries, ADRA Canada

Properly referred to as indigenous or aboriginal, Inuit are part of the First Peoples of Canada and are among the most culturally resilient in North America.   

Many Inuit face persisting social and economic hardship. Many families struggle to meet their basic needs in safety, housing, and getting enough food to eat.  The history of colonization among the Inuit has left a legacy of trauma and violence.    

Many have lost complete hope up here. Depression is an epidemic.  People need the love of Jesus,says Jose Quezada, Lay preacher for Igloolik, Nunavut.

Thanks to support from ADRA, Jose and his team were able to provide hope in the form of antibacterial handwashing soap and frozen berries, a prized food commodity in northern communities.  ADRA also twice distributed $100 food vouchers to 50 of the most vulnerable families in Igloolik, redeemable for groceries the local Co-op store.   

Evelyn* and her family were one of the 153 families who received the 3 packages of frozen berries, and 2 bottles of soft soap, and one of 50 families to receive $100 food vouchers, in addition to the new jacket she received from ADRA previously.  She said, “I am very happy that ADRA has given us food so that I could feed my baby and my family during this time of need and I am glad to hear that they will continue helping us.” 

In the city of Iqaluit, Nunavut’s capital, Pr. Melvin Bartley, transplanted from Maskwacis, Alberta, is Iqaluit SDA Group’s first official pastor since 2008.  Arriving in February 2020, Melvin (as he’s known locally), witnessed the pandemic’s effect on the north. Pr. Bartley and his team of twenty volunteers wasted no time. They used ADRA in Canada’s financial support to help over 1,000 unemployed people and seniors. They coordinated their efforts with the local food centre, community kitchen, and local Elder’s Residence.  They also partnered with the Embrace Life Council, responsible for training and suicide prevention in the community. 

As a result of ADRA’s support and volunteer efforts, three times between May and August 2020, the distribution of cereal, milk, oil, rice, flour, frozen and fresh mixed vegetables, and other essentials helped seniors and families in Iqaluit.  Puzzles and sewing materials were also purchased to help with isolation due to mandated stay-home orders.  

Pr. Bartley shared that “appreciation was [noted] of not only the food, but also of a face-to-face visit, and positive surprise [for] the kind gesture of those not fully acquainted with [ADRA].” 

ADRA Canada’s Canadian Emergency Program is committed to assisting First Nations and Inuit communities in increasing food security, promoting health, wellness, and youth engagement by partnering with local indigenous communities and First Nations and Inuit leadership. 

Your support of our Canadian projects has expanded our mission here in Canada. Thank you for partnering with us in making a difference here at home.  

*Name changed to protect privacy.