With confirmed cases of Covid-19 rising in the hamlet on a daily basis, Jim Ramsay of Arctic Connection took matters into his own hands to try and brighten the mood of the community by preparing and helping to deliver 150 hearty meals to folks who could use an act of kindness in Arviat on Nov. 18.
Ramsay said he wanted the meals to go to those in the community who, perhaps, could use a kind gesture and a bit of a helping hand during these most difficult of times.
He said he had also been talking to longtime Kivalliq resident Sean Maley about helping out a little bit, so, this past Monday morning, Nov. 23, Ramsay cooked-up 75 breakfast sandwiches, to go along with 75 muffins and packs of juice to distribute among Hamlet of Arviat staff workers.
He’ll be doing the same thing again this coming Monday morning, Nov. 30.
“I’ve lost 25 out of my 30 staff workers here at the store during the past week or so, so it’s been a little rough but you still want to help out where you can,” said Ramsay.
“I just ordered a whack of quality bulk meats in because my plan is to do this every week if I possibly can.
“I had one girl help me put the meals together for about three hours on Nov. 18, but I was in the kitchen from about 4:30 in the morning. I threw-in 10 big loins-of-pork roasts and did each plate up with hot pork sandwiches, mashed potatoes, gravy and vegetables.
“I don’t know what I get myself into sometimes, but I just do it because it helps people in the community and it makes me feel good, and that’s all that matters.”
Ramsay said the meals were delivered to the doors of a number of elders whose names he was given.
He said he would casually ask his customers throughout the day if they could suggest anyone in the community who could use a good, nutritious, hot meal and appreciate the gesture.
“I was told of one family with, I believe it was, 13 kids there, so we sent over a bunch of meals to that house, and we had a girl help who took 30 meals and went to drop them off to different elders, people in isolated buildings and things of that nature.
“We asked our customers for some names but, going on seven years now here in Arviat, we know some of the elders and other folks who, you know, can use a little extra help every now and then.
“Hilary Irwin also took some meals to drop-off to a large family, so we got it done one way or another.”
Ramsay said he had to shut his kitchen down with the pandemic raging, and figured what better way to make use of the store’s beautiful kitchen than to do a little good in the community with the free meals.
He said he was more than happy to help, with the majority of people in the community more than a little scared right now with, as of press time, 58 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Arviat.
“People are scared, yes, but they’re also doing pretty good. The momentum, I believe, is growing stronger to beat this thing.
“We’re a little freaked out. I mean, we’re in the store every day and people from the two buildings that got nailed with Covid here are also in our store every day, so it worries you a bit, of course.
“I’m obviously going to have to be tested over the next day or two, but everyone coming into the store are wearing their masks, sanitizing their hands upon entry and practicing social distancing.
“We’re just doing our best to keep people up and positive, and that’s what I intend to keep-on doing at the store as often as possible. It’s just the right thing to do.”