Rankin Inlet's food bank received a boost this month thanks to a donation from the local fire department.
At the end of June, the fire department held its annual car wash fundraiser, which enabled Fire Chief Mark Wyatt to present the Ikurraq Food Bank's Jessie Baxter and Stella Kablalik with an envelope containing $940 this month.
Wyatt said the money the fire department receives from the car wash usually goes toward supporting the department itself to help pay for necessary equipment. This year, however, firefighters decided to donate the money instead.
"I thought, 'We normally do the car wash anyway, and we've had a pretty good year, so let's donate those funds to the food bank,' " Wyatt said.
"We raised a lot of money to support the fire department and the equipment we need, so now we're starting to get into some fundraising for other people."
Around 11 firefighters came out for the car wash, which ran for three hours on a Saturday afternoon. Wyatt said the amount they raised is fairly typical compared to past years.
The fire department chose the food bank due to the nature of its services, he added.
"The food bank always needs help. They get donations from other community groups as well, but they do a lot of good work in the community," Wyatt said.
"With the food bank, the work they do goes to help people who can't help themselves."
Jessie Baxter, who volunteers with the food bank, said it has been amazing to see the community's support and characterized the organization's ability to help people in need as a "team effort."
"We're super appreciative. There has been a huge community effort and a lot of organizations helping out through volunteering and giving donations," she said.
"The fire department has been wonderful."
She said Wyatt has also been volunteering his time on Wednesdays to deliver food to people who can't come to make it out.
Wyatt says that's all part of helping the community.
"These people otherwise go hungry in this community, and they shouldn't," he said.
Stella Kablalik started volunteering at the food bank this year, and although she won't be able to continue next year, she says the experience has been wonderful.
"I wanted to do this as a way to help out my community," she said.
"I'm really going to miss working here."
The food bank is open Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.. During that time, Baxter said, volunteers give bags of food to anywhere from 30 to 50 families.
Bags usually include some kind of pasta, fruit, vegetable and sometimes treats, depending on what is in stock. There are also staples available, such as flour, sugar, coffee and lard.
They also have feminine hygiene products and Pampers available upon request.
Baxter said some of the items the food bank needs regularly are healthy canned goods such as vegetables, soup and pasta sauce, and cereal. The food bank also has an account at the Co-op where people can make donations.