On Nov. 28, Dave Gordon, a parishioner with a long history of advocating for Indigenous issues, received an email from Jennifer Manitowabi, the vice-principal at the Eenchokay Birchstick School in Pikangikum, a remote northern Ontario First Nations community. She identified 70 students from Kindergarten to high school who did not have proper winter jackets and many who did not have winter boots. Of the 300 students from Kindergarten to Grade 3, only 30 had snow pants. In extreme cold, many could not go out for recess.
Students from Grade 3 through high school are taken out on the land by elders for fishing and trapping. The school keeps a supply of winter clothing, and dresses students from head to toe for these occasions so all the students can participate. Ms. Manitowabi noted that mitts are needed for these outings.
Thanks to the generous outpouring of financial support from the congregations of All Saints, King City, St. Timothy, North Toronto, Grace Church, Markham and others, we were able to raise $10,366. With this, we were able to purchase for children, youth and adults 75 pairs of snow pants, 60 pairs of boots and 66 pairs of winter mitts at discount prices. Many merchants gave an additional discount when told of the reason for the purchase. Leah Springford, through her involvement with Newmarket Lions’ Coats for Kids, provided 72 new winter jackets. We completely filled the list of clothing that Ms. Manitowabi had sent to us.
In addition, a significant amount of donations of jackets, snow pants, boots, knitted hats and mitts and various other clothing items were received by All Saints, King City or directly by Dave Gordon. These items came from the Parish of Lloydtown, St. Aidan, Toronto, Church of the Resurrection, Toronto, St. George in St. Catharines, Hiawatha First Nation and Trinity Clothes Closet.
A total of 65 boxes of clothing were placed on six pallets and shrink-wrapped, then transported to the north. Thanks to the All Saints’ team of Leah and Michael Springford, Denise and John Whalley, Bill Fines, Ed Millar, Dave Gordon and Marilyn Cartmill, the students at Eenchokay Birchstick School in Pikangikum will be enjoying new winter clothing. For us, this is what church is all about.
Submitted by Marilyn Cartmill.
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