On the night of February 28th, 2017, the lovely modern school in Kuraaruk, Nunavut burned to the ground, as efforts by firefighters were hampered by high winds and cold temperatures.
The modern Kugaaruk school, before and after the fire. All that remains is the stone entrance, just visible before the fire in front of the large cream-coloured building.
When contacted by Kids’ Guide to Canada volunteers, the principal and teachers of Kugaaruk (Koo- GAR-uk) requested that the AKGTC project consider tackling the problem of finding running shoes for all of the 300 students from Kindergarten to Grade 12, as indoor shoes were always left in classes and were lost in the fire. (ShoeBank Canada has volunteered to help with this – see below.)
The staff also requested reading books for all of the elementary school children, colouring books and crayons for the very youngest, and writing materials for students in middle to intermediate grades.
However it is incredibly difficult and costly to ship these weighty materials to the high arctic!
THE CHALLENGE OF SHIPPING IS NOT JUST ONE OF COST!
With no school, there are storage problems to consider, and more importantly, there are very limited methods to transport goods to Kugaaruk until shipping is possible in the summer. There are no roads, and flights are not like in southern mainstream Canada!
We have explored many different methods of shipping, and approached a number of businesses, organizations, and government agencies seeking help with shipping costs. We await their response! In the meantime, we are going ahead and trying to get these materials to the students as soon as possible.
IF YOU WANT TO HELP – PLEASE NOTE!
The school has requested people wanting to help can do so best by raising and sending money to help the students, rather than clog their limited air flights bringing much needed food and supplies to the community each week.
At this point, we have shipped 3 boxes of new books donated by SCHOLASTIC CANADA, with crafts supplies packed into every nook and cranny. If your class would like to track these boxes on their Journey North, the tracking numbers are below.
Donations of craft supplies have also been promised if we can raise enough money to pay for their shipping.
However the priority right now is GETTING RUNNING SHOES to the students before the snow melts!
SHOEBANK CANADA has very generously offered to donate gently used running shoes. We will soon discover how many they’re able to donate from their Kelowna and Ottawa warehouses. The issue of supplementing the rest is still under discussion – the only departure point for flights to Kugaaruk is Yellowknife, through Edmonton! We will share further information on shipping and shipping costs when it becomes available.
A GoFundMe page is being set up to raise money to cover the costs of shipping these items to the Kugaaruk. All money raised will be used to ship shoes and supplies to the students of Kugaaruk. Any and all remaining funds will be donated directly to the school.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to help the Kugaaruk students and staff by raising finds to support these efforts.
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