Background: In 2015 I started a project called Feeding Canada. After researching and finding out food costs were up to 10x higher than the national average I couldn't sit around and not do anything about it. Feeding Canada has sent shipments of basic necessities & baby supplies to remote communities in Nunavut every holiday season over the past 6 years.
Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction: As the pandemic unfolded throughout 2020 I decided to shift my Northern support to PPE. My new endeavor Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction, a completely grassroots Indigenous-led collective, sent over 40,000 units of PPE (gloves, surgical masks, KN95, isolation gowns, disinfectant wipes) to nine communities across the Arctic and other remote Indigenous communities on Turtle Island. We receive no government funding and fund all of the work through generous community donations.
Pandemic Crisis Response: Fast forward to December 2020. Severe outbreaks of Covid19 in remote Indigenous communities across the country begin to happen with the second wave of COVID19. In addition, three separate Covid19 variants have emerged, all more contagious and spreadly quickly across the country. And sadly, the variants have already made their way to several remote Indigenous communities. Members of TIHR are uniquely positioned to help and hear the needs of Indigenous communities as they are also trained in Covid19 health response and IPAC (Infection Prevention and Control) measures.
What we aim to do: We cannot sit by and watch this pandemic unfold without increasing our efforts. We have heard time and time again from communities that bureaucracy and underfunding is a major factor in Covid19 relief efforts, therefore we need to step up and move quickly to reach our goal of sending 250K PPE units. We bypass all of the redtape to get PPE out immediately and without cost to those hit by outbreaks. To date, communities have used PPE for their health services, senior care, frontline support, screening, and in schools, just to name a few.
Second and Third Wave: As we navigate this second wave, doctors are already speculating about the upcoming third wave of Covid19. The recent health data suggests that doubling masks is one way to curb the spread of the variants that are already here. We believe these communities deserve more PPE to protect themselves from these new stronger variants.
Protect Our People & Cultures: We are extremely concerned about the impact that Covid19 is having on our communities. We already know so many of our People all across Turtle Island that have lost parents, grandparents and loved ones to this virus, and others who are experiencing health impacts of having Covid19. We recognize the immense toll this pandemic has taken on our people, and the individual and collective grief that we are all navigating. Our hearts are heavy. We stand in solidarity with all of the Nations of Indigenous people on Turtle Island and globally.
Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction
Check out our website for updates on our PPE drive at www.torontoindigenoushr.com
- Emily Green
- Caitlin Grandison
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