It may be one of the toughest parts of Newfoundland and Labrador to ship to, but a group of volunteers didn’t let daunting logistics stand in the way of sending more than 2,300 pounds — some 1,000-odd kilograms — of meat from St. John’s to Nain.
The frozen meat was donated by Loblaw. Unifor workers at its 11 Dominion stores in Newfoundland have been on strike since Aug. 22, and the grocery giant has been distributing the stores’ perishable goods to food banks and other organizations around the province.
When Susan Onalik, who is originally from Labrador but now lives in St. John’s, heard Loblaw was distributing that food, she knew Nain would probably be left out of the loop despite how much the community would benefit from it.
For her, it then came down to doing some planning to get it there, along with a team of volunteers.
“It seemed like a daunting task. The cost of shipping to Nain is a lot, and so I decided to take it on and find some connections,” said Onalik, standing beside a pallet of food in the PAL Airlines cargo garage.
“I know the community in Nain. They are always there to help others and this was a way I could give back,” she said, while also thanking striking Unifor workers for allowing her to cross the picket line to pick up the donation.
With help from the Jimmy Pratt Foundation, Onalik and her team were able to acquire 2,368 pounds of frozen meat in total.
Onalik said buying that same amount in Nain would cost thousands of dollars, with an $8 pack of chicken in Newfoundland often retailing for triple that in northern Labrador.
“It makes it hard for a lot of people,” she said.
Initially, Onalik said she was concerned about the price tag to fly the food more than 1,000 kilometres, but PAL Airlines and Air Borealis covered the cost for the first shipment of food, with the Nunatsiavut Government paying to ship the rest.
The meat will be stored at the community freezer in Nain. Onalik hopes the first shipment arrives in the next few days
Onalik said she hopes the donation makes it easier for people who are trying to stock up on food for the winter, when travelling and shipping gets even more difficult.
“It will certainly help a lot of families. Hopefully it will get to as many people as possible in Nain,” she said.