It’s been an ongoing struggle for residents in Churchill over the past few months, but after a Christmas hamper donation by the Manitoba Metis Federation, Christmas is looking up.
The MMF chartered a plane Sunday, bringing with them 110 hampers filled with turkeys, potatoes and all the dinner extras.
The goal – make sure each family feels like they are loved and not forgotten.
The group also brought 200 toys to hand out to children and a dozen musicians who spent the day putting on a concert for the community.
“We wanted to remind them that they matter. To tell them that they matter,” David Chartrand, President of the Manitoba Metis Federation said. “Seeing these families and bringing joy into their lives. Somebody cares. Somebody matters.”
“It was to lift up the spirits of Churchill. Churchill has been going through a challenging time to make ends meet,” Chartrand said. “Cost of living is skyrocketing right now based on the rail line not coming all the way to Churchill.”
Since the rail line washed out in the spring, prices of food and fuel have jumped exponentially.
“When you lose something as important as the rail line you go through all stages of grief and I think the town has gone through every one of them,” David Daley, president of the Churchill Chamber of Commerce, said.
“We’ve got quite a few months to go without the rail line. It’s expensive, before the train went out a 4L of milk was $4. Now it’s $12. I’ve seen six pork chops in the grocery store cost as much as $36.”
Residents in the community said they feel isolated and forgotten.
“Families are separated from other families in the south,” resident Patricia Kandiurin said. “Not everyone can afford to fly. You’re stuck here all year. We’ve never been a fly in community. This is new to us.”
Kandiurin said while some people can shop online, for others that isn’t an option.
“A lot of people don’t have a credit card to shop online,” she said. “It’s hard living up here as it is.”
But residents said they are resilient and will get through this.
“Come hell or high water,” Kandiurin said. “We’ve had the high water, this is hell so it can only get better.”
On Wednesday, roughly 60-thousand pounds of supplies is expected to arrive in Churchill on a new winter road.