Money to purchase goods for students needed now that Covid-19 has prevented in-person fundraising

Joamie School is on a mission to raise $10,000 in order to keep its food bank stocked for the year.
The initiative is being spearheaded by student support worker Jason Rochon.

Normally the school depends on the generosity of the community during its Christmas concert and other annual get-togethers for food donations. However, Rochon said that due to Covid-19, the school is no longer able to host in-person fundraisers and donations.

Jason Rochon began reaching out to businesses last week. As of Oct. 1 he had already received confirmation from two donors who would be willing to cover the $1,000 per month cost of stocking the food bank for a month. NNSL file photo

“With Covid-19 and the cost of food I’m always looking for ways to make sure children have access to food,” he wrote in an Oct. 1 Facebook post. “Because of Covid I won’t be having the big fundraisers that usually cover a large portion of the food bank.”

Rochon began reaching out to businesses last week. As of Oct. 1 he had already received confirmation from two donors who would be willing to cover the $1,000 per month cost of stocking the food bank for a month, including DJ Specialties, who will be the first sponsor for the month of October.

“Another person reached out and said they’d like to donate for another month and said they’d like to remain anonymous,” said Rochon.

Rochon started up the school’s food bank when he first started working at Joamie School nine years ago.

“A couple of times kids would come back from lunch and tell me they didn’t have food,” he said.

He started off by filling up a small container with food outside his class. However, he noticed the box being emptied relatively quickly. So he decided to upgrade the space to a few shelves. The informal food bank has been a staple at the school ever since.

Iqaluit’s Joamie School is looking for local sponsors to give $1,000 a month to help keep its food bank well-stocked. Due to Covid-19 the school is no longer able to depend on in-person fundraisers and donations.
photo courtesy of Jason Rochon

Rochon told Nunavut News that he doesn’t ask the students that use the food bank about why they use it, he just makes sure the shelves stay stocked.

“There’s no shame because they never have to ask for food,” he said. “I know they’re very thankful and they use it all the time.

Since Rochon made his Facebook post, several other local companies have reached out to arrange meetings with him.

“Right now it looks like I’m going to have six months covered in the next six days. There’s only 10 months in the school year so we’re almost there,” Rochon said.

“I’m hoping the people that said they would donate will step up.”

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