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A helping hand when needed

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, March 2, 2011

ARVIAT/WINNIPEG - Venture Healthcare Inc. of Winnipeg delivered hundreds of pounds of food staples and baby clothes to the Arviat food bank this past month.

Venture Healthcare places health professionals in many remote and rural communities in Nunavut, Manitoba and Ontario.

Venture has donated more than 8,600 pounds of food and clothing to Nunavut communities as part of its Give Back initiative during the past five years.

First Air partners in the initiative by providing free shipping for the donations.

The Arviat food bank helped about 50 to 60 families a month when it opened five years ago.

That number now sits at about 130 families a month.

Venture executive vice-president Koren Kines said the company's efforts are well-received by the communities.

She said contributing items to local food banks is one area that really makes a difference to people.

"When we first began looking at what was happening in a number of different communities, it was two nurses we had working in Arviat who brought the food bank idea to our attention," said Kines.

"They recognized the need in the community, and that it would be a good idea for us to team up with the local food bank, and that's how we got started with this project in Arviat."

Kines said her company approaches different stores in Winnipeg to help with the initiative. She said while some smaller stores are involved, it's mainly larger retailers like Superstore and Costco that provide the bulk of the help.

"Some of the stores have donated food to us in the past, such as turkeys and other bigger items.

"The rest we purchase in bulk, package up and ship to Arviat.

"First Air has been fantastic in providing complimentary shipping so we can donate even more food."

Venture Healthcare has also donated seven fully-equipped Broselow pediatric resuscitation kits to the Ikpiguskniqmut Foundation for distribution to health centres across Nunavut.

Kines said a kit is essential emergency equipment for kids in distress.

She said they make it easier for a nurse or doctor to act quickly when a child or infant is in respiratory distress or system failure.

"They can act quicker in providing medication and getting them breathing faster.

"They're all about reducing the time it takes to resuscitate a child or an infant."

Kines said Venture employees take a lot of pride in being involved with the Give Back initiative and seeing the difference their efforts make.

She said it's one thing to go into a community to provide a service, but it's totally different when you truly care.

"That's something we - as a family who own and operate the business - are also proud to be part of.

"The people who work with us care and want to help.

"And not just when they're in the communities, but when they're away as well.

"When you hear how much a community appreciates the help, that's what really warms your heart."

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