Nunavut college student raises $3,900 worth of food to help hungry classmates

·2 min read
Miranda Evetalegak is a student at Nunavut Arctic College. She launched a fundraiser for food donations after students went hungry because they didn't receive their financial assistance on time. (Submitted by Miranda Evetalegak - image credit)
Miranda Evetalegak is a student at Nunavut Arctic College. She launched a fundraiser for food donations after students went hungry because they didn't receive their financial assistance on time. (Submitted by Miranda Evetalegak - image credit)

When Miranda Evetalegak found out some of her classmates at Nunavut Arctic College were going hungry because their student financial assistance had been delayed, she resolved to find a way to feed them.

Evetalegak, who is in the Nunavut Teacher Education program in Iqaluit, says she woke up crying the morning after she heard about her fellow students' plight.

"I don't like seeing [families] or children go hungry. It really hurts my heart, because I went through that a lot. And now that I'm older, I can help now," she said.

She knew she had to act, so she launched a fundraiser for food donations. She ended up raising $3,900 worth of food — enough to feed the entire street of student housing.

The food was donated by the Nunavut Food Bank, with help from Food Banks Canada. Community members in Iqaluit stepped up to distribute the food to students earlier this week.

RADIO-CANADA / MATISSE HARVEY
RADIO-CANADA / MATISSE HARVEY

Evetalegak said she was moved by the generosity.

"I felt blessed — I even cried for joy. I couldn't believe what the people were doing. People are so generous and awesome here," she said.

While it isn't clear why financial assistance for some students was delayed this year, it isn't unusual for financial aid through the Financial Assistance for Nunavut Students program to arrive late in January. CBC News has reached out to the Nunavut government to ask about this delay.

Evetalegak said it can take a while during this time of year for all the paperwork to get processed for each student. She has had that happen to her in the past, and she has taken it upon herself to help newer students navigate the complicated paperwork they have to fill out for financial aid.

Naja Fennell is one of the students whose financial aid was late this year. She is in her first year of the Nunavut Teacher Education program.

Fennell said the Christmas holidays were difficult because the college was shut down, so students couldn't even access the food bank there.

"I needed some help, but there's families going to school right now that were in much worse shape than I was," she said.

"I know some of my classmates were really struggling — they have more people in their homes, multiple children, and it gets really hard when there's no immediate access to help."

She said it means a lot to have the support of community members who donated gift cards and food. She received a food hamper from the Nunavut Literacy Council that was so big, she was able to give half of it to someone else who needed food as well.

"It really helps when those things happen in the community, and we're able to share sometimes, too," she said. "I'm really grateful — I think it's really amazing that we have people in the community who care so much and want to help."

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