January 31, 2022
By Janice Biehn
Last Friday, a long-anticipated shipment of PPE arrived in Kingfisher Lake First Nation via airplane. It was the end of a busy seven days for the parish of St. Paul’s, Thunder Bay and its incumbent, Archdeacon Deborah Kraft, who stepped up to get emergency supplies to Bearskin Lake and Kingfisher Lake First Nations on behalf of PWRDF.
PWRDF gave $15,000 to the Diocese of Algoma to support a COVID response in the Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh in the far north of Ontario. The Omicron variant has had a devastating impact on the community.
“On a very cold morning, I am happy to report that all the PPE for Kingfisher Lake First Nation went up north by an Air Bravo charter this morning, January 28, 2022,” wrote Archdeacon Deborah after watching the supplies get loaded on to the plane. “I am very grateful to PWRDF for providing $5,000 for the purchase of PPE and for paying for the Air Bravo Charter, and to Titus Semple of Semple Enterprises for donating $6,000 worth of additional PPE.”
By noon Friday, Semple had confirmation from the Chief of Kingfisher Lake that the plane had landed. Bishop Lydia Mamakwa, unable to travel to the airport because she was self-isolating, shared photos of the PPE being unloaded.
A week before, on January 20, a huge truck carrying $10,000 worth of food and sundries was being loaded at Westfort Foods in Thunder Bay. Archdeacon Deborah consulted with Sharon Angeconeb, a band member of Bearskin Lake First Nation who lives in Thunder Bay. Angeconeb arranged a list of needed supplies and helped coordinate the response with Westfort Foods. The truck set out on the ice roads to Bearskin Lake and arrived 16 hours later at the Michikan Lake School, where it was unloaded into the gym and distributed to those in need.
This $15,000 is part of a larger response to support Indigenous communities in Northern Ontario and Manitoba coping with the pandemic. PWRDF has allocated $50,000 to Indigenous People’s Alliance of Manitoba-North (IPAM-N) to provide cleaning supplies to 12 communities in Northern Manitoba: Sherridon, Pikwitonei, Thicket Portage, Grand Rapids, Wabowden, Cormorant, Easterville, Leaf Rapids, Lynn Lake, Moose Lake, Brochet and Thompson. Another $15,000 has been allocated to the Diocese of Rupert’s Land to provide supplies to Tataskweyak First Nation in Northern Manitoba, also part of the Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh.
How you can help
To make a donation to this response, click here. You may also donate by phone at 416-822-9083 or leave a voicemail toll-free at 1-866-308-7973 and we will return your call, or mail your cheque to PWRDF, 80 Hayden, 3rd floor, Toronto, Ontario, M4Y 3G2. Please mark Indigenous COVID in the memo field.