Northern News Services
Almost 20 years ago, Iqaluit business owner Fred Coman started collecting money to provide a little Christmas cheer to families in need.
Coman passed away in 1998, but the Rotary Club of Iqaluit continues to run the program.
Lyn Woodhouse, the Rotary Club's past president and manager of Tittaq, said her business is an ideal place to collect money from local businesses.
"We're right downtown near the post office, and it's easier than going all the way out to Nunavut Power," where the current president works, said Woodhouse.
Last year, 175 Iqaluit families received hampers with a turkey, ham, bread, fruit, vegetables, baked goods, candy and a small gift for each family member.
"It's a pretty substantial package," said Mac Maidens, president of the Iqaluit chapter.
Iqaluit, renowned for its community spirit, is once again rising to the occasion. "We got our first cheques last Wednesday," said Maidens.
Rotarians get pretty speedy replies. Last Wednesday was also the day the club's appeal arrived in the mailboxes of local businesses.
While businesses donate and the Rotary Club organizes, the Christmas drive wouldn't take off at all if were it not for the heroic efforts of the Iqaluit fire department and the RCMP, who make the deliveries.
"We're literally just the organizers," said Maidens.
By late last week, $13,340 had been raised. And, in case you were wondering, cheques can be made out to the Iqaluit Christmas Fund.
Somewhere, way upstairs, Fred Coman is smiling.