Acclaimed singer shipping 1,000 pounds of food to Nunavut
Published Wednesday, December 17, 2014 8:46AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 17, 2014 9:01AM EST
Juno Award-winning singer Susan Aglukark is stepping up to help Canada's struggling Northern communities with a campaign to stock two food banks in Nunavut.
Aglukark's Arctic Rose initiative has raised more than $4,000, through fundraising and artwork auctions, that it’s using to ship 1,000 pounds of non-perishable food to Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet in Nunavut.
"It's a morale-boosting campaign," Aglukark told CTV's Canada AM on Wednesday. She says the Arctic Rose initiative is a temporary measure to help ease the high costs of shipping food to Canada's North, and to "relieve the stress of feeding your family over the Christmas holidays."
Northern communities have been up in arms recently over the federal Nutrition North Canada program, which some say has failed to relieve the sky-high cost of food.
The Conservative government came under fire last month, after an APTN documentary showing Rankin Inlet residents rummaging through a landfill in search of food.
The website Feeding My Family shows some of the outrageous prices Northerners see at grocery stores. One photo shows a five-pack of juice boxes on sales for $36.99, while another shows a 12-pack of ginger ale priced at $82.49.
Nutrition North Canada tries to subsidize the cost of shipping food to Nunavut, but for many, the price of groceries is still too high.
"The cost of shipping food is just horrendous," Aglukark said.
The Nunavut-born singer says she's particularly concerned for children who are going hungry in Northern communities.
"We often forget, in the middle of all these crises going on, the children and the youth," she said, adding that 80 per cent of Northerners who use a food bank are under the age of 18.
"They're the forgotten victims," she said.
Aglukark started her Arctic Rose effort last Christmas, by auctioning artwork to pay the cost of shipping food to Nunavut. She says she shipped four boxes of food last year.
"This year, it's just grown," she said.
Aglukark thanked Loblaws, Baffinland CEO Tom Paddon, and the Waterloo and Ottawa police forces for their help with the campaign.
She spoke to Canada AM Wednesday morning before catching a flight to Nunavut to deliver some of the food.
"There is a need there," she said.