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Giving spirit on the Bay

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Repulse Bay (Jan 12/05) - Hamlet foreman Roland Tungilik came up with a unique idea this past Christmas on how to say thank you to his community for the support he's received in his ventures over the years.

Tungilik decided to put on a Christmas food drive to help some of the less-fortunate families in his community.

Support for his idea grew quickly.

"I have always received tremendous support from the community in my job as hamlet foreman and during my two-plus years as chairperson of the Repulse Bay District Education Authority," says Tungilik.

"This was a small idea I came up with as a way of thanking the community for the support I've received over the years."

Tungilik first approached the local detachment of the RCMP for space to hold the food drive.

He says there was so much support given, the area provided couldn't hold the workers and food supplies coming in.

"We had to move to a bigger place and Leonie Aissaoui was good enough to let us use the school's shop room, so it turned out pretty good for us.

"This was a lot of work and I couldn't have done it without help from people like Michel Akkuardjuk, Sherlyn Kadjuk and Laimikki Malliki."

Tungilik says the hamlet itself was the biggest donor to the food drive, contributing $2,500.

He says contributions also came in from the Co-op and Northern stores, as well as BHP Billiton.

"Some individuals in the community also donated country food and a little bit of money, so it all came together pretty well for us."

Cash donations were used to purchase items such as milk, sugar, coffee, tea, flour, lard, cereal, baby foods and Pampers.

Tungilik says once everything was ready to go, the real challenge began.

"It was hard to decide who we should provide hampers to and what size to give out.

"This was our first one and, to be honest, we had no idea how to distribute it all, so we just did our best to be as fair as we could.

"The hard part is separating those who are really in need from those who are just trying to get a freebie.

"Even in a small community, it's a lot harder than people might think to decide who needs the help."