A letter requesting a commitment for “real” change
What measures are required to eliminate barriers to healthy food across Canada?
THUNDER BAY – VIEWPOINT – The 2017 Sounds of the Season hosted by the CBC in Thunder Bay will demonstrate that it is possible. The CBC annually orchestrates hunger mitigation events across the country in support of food banks. Last year CBC Thunder Bay and the RFDA filled a plane with food and flew it to one remote First Nation Community in Northern Ontario. In 2016, Sandy Lake was the beneficiary of the efforts of Wasaya Airways, the Gleaners of southwestern Ontario, producers from the Leamington area, Truckers for Change and a number of local and regional donors. They made it possible.
This year we are piloting what could be a model for collaborative food distribution through the north. The team includes three commercial air carriers (Wasaya Airways LP, Perimeter Aviation, North Star Air), plus one private company plane from KBM Resources Group; which are teaming up to ship an estimated 35,000 pounds of food to eight communities (Sandy Lake, Kasabonika, Nibinamik, Weagamow, Sachigo, Eabametoong, Neskantaga, Marten Falls). It is a collaborative effort to deliver food from the most southerly region of Ontario to the remote regions of Northern Ontario. It is a charitable project to deliver food to those individuals and families that struggle with poverty, living in isolation, where air travel is the primary form of transportation.
The Thunder Bay Airport is the centroid for this year’s event; collecting food and donations to assist in this massive undertaking. Starting at 6:00 am, Friday 15, 2017, the airport comes alive with the Sounds of the Season, as planes load, and depart down the runway, destined for remote communities across Northwestern Ontario. It is a celebration of sorts, as we acknowledge what can be accomplished by targeting our collective resources and passions to serve.
The RFDA is looking forward to long-term capacity solutions for storage, collection, and distribution. Canada has an abundance of surplus food that goes to waste. We can re-direct some of this food through a network of charitable and commercial channels, into the hands of hungry Canadians.
There are ample opportunities to build a northern economy by working in partnership with First Nation communities to develop indigenous resources and achieve food sovereignty. Infrastructure is often the missing link in remote communities to manage larger volumes of purchased or donated food and products. Dedicated funding is a pre-requisite. The most significant barriers always come down to leadership and our ability to work collaboratively.
Governments at all levels, businesses, and charities belong at the same table.
Canadians from coast to coast to coast can share our national journey: donate food and money, appeal to leaders, volunteer your expertise and time. Change starts Friday, December 15th.
Regional Food Distribution Association of Northwestern Ontario (RFDA)