Earlier this week, a small group of Kenora volunteers joined together with Tracy’s No Frills and created a fundraiser to send children’s supplies to Bearskin Lake First Nation.

Currently, the community is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak that has infected the majority of the community forcing self-isolation.

Richard Goodfellow of Sure Can Volunteers said that a member actually came up with the idea to focus on the supplies for the children.

“George Wassaykeesic came up with the fact that probably nobody is focusing just on the children, so that was something that we could handle,” Goodfellow said.

“We reached out to Tracy and she just was all over it. At a moment's notice, she was putting stuff together, diapers, formula, and things like that. Then we went shopping for toys, and we had some toys leftover from Christmas so we sent those up as well,” Goodfellow added.

In just four days of fundraising, both parties were able to send over $5,000 worth of toys, diapers, baby formula, baby needs, winter wear, and treats for the families.

Bearskin 3Photo courtesy of Tracy's No Frills.

The children’s supplies left Kenora on Friday (January 14, 2022), and will make the journey up to Pickle Lake before being transferred to a plane and flown to the community on Saturday (January 15, 2022).

Bearskin 2Photo courtesy of Tracy's No Frills.

Goodfellow mentioned there has been a lot of appreciation from the First Nation community for their generosity.

“The emails I’ve got back and the appreciation were absolutely way above and beyond what I was expecting. Their response up there has been great. We’re just so glad that we could be a small part.”

He concluded by thanking Tracy’s No Frills for the support in the fundraiser.

“She [Tracy] is just so community-minded. It seems like if there’s a need for something and we go to her, she’s there.”

Bearskin Lake declared a state of emergency due to an outbreak of COVID-19 infections on December 29.

By the night of January 6, Bearskin Lake’s Health Director, Wes Nothing, announced that 196 people had tested positive for the illness. The community has a total population of around 400, the majority of which are under quarantine and isolation at this time.

Bearskin Lake First Nation is located 425 kilometres north of Sioux Lookout on Lake Michikan. It’s accessible by air throughout the year and by ice roads in the winter.