Organizers say they were overwhelmed by the community’s generosity after a short campaign collected thousands of pounds of school supplies and clothing for children of Attawapiskat First Nation.
Greg Davis dropped by the Peterborough Armoury on Wednesday morning where they were getting the supplies ready to ship:
The Kids Express to Attawapiskat campaign aimed collect 2,000 pounds of supplies …
Instead it received 10,000 pounds… Of everything from school supplies to clothing to sports equipment.
Carol Franks: “… Lots of books, games, 550 pairs of running shoes. That’s what the kids asked for.I think we got everything on the list.”
Two weeks ago Carol Franks launched the campaign with help from the Fowlers Corners and District Lions Club.
Donations quickly poured in from area residents and the business community to fill 200 large boxes.
They’re destined for a remote First Nation on James Bay – a community facing a litany of challenges including youth suicide, poor housing, unreliable water supplies.
Larry Franks, Lions Club: “Carol usually researches her projects well to ensure we are giving to very good causes and we got behind it.”
All freight costs have been donated as the boxes will travel 1700 kilometers north by truck, train and barge
Carol: “There was just boxes and boxes of donated stuff and money too. When we didn’t get something we bought it, normally used but we bought new stuff too. ”
She said one telling sign of conditions in Attawapiskat was a particular request from school staff for first-aid kits.
Carol: “You’d think first aid kits because a kid scrapes his elbow…but it was because kids slash their wrists. It’s a situation of despair. So I called St. John Ambulance and they gave me a discount and threw in a big bag of supplies.”
In return, Attawapiskat students sent lions volunteers a pile of thank you cards and letters
Carol: “They’re over the top; they’re so excited… one kid said he couldn’t wait for the hockey equipment to arrive because his equipment was bent and old.”
The students are expected to receive the donations in a week. Greg Davis CHEX Newswatch Peterborough