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Shipping containers carry help to northern communities

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul's North of 60 Project helps northern communities with a little southern hospitality from central Alberta. 
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North of 60 chairperson Linda Tutt is thankful for all of the community support for the donations that are now heading to Ulukhaktok, NWT.

Another shipping container has headed off by land and by sea for a journey of weeks and months, and hundreds of kilometres to the hamlet in the Northwest Territories called Ulukhaktok.

That sea can began its journey in the parking lot of the Holy Family Catholic Church on the corner of Sir Winston Churchill and Poirier avenues. Its destination is in the far north.  

When that parcel arrives, it will bring a collection of items assembled with love by the members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul with the help of many people in St. Albert: hockey sticks for the arena, fabric for the sewing groups, sewing machines for the women who want to sew, and even pots and dirt for the greenhouse.  

“We have a really neat greenhouse there,” said Linda Tutt, the chairperson of the society’s North of 60 Project, which helps these northern communities with a little southern hospitality from central Alberta. 

“Ulukhaktok is fly-in only. A few months in the summer this barge comes with all their supplies for the whole year. Whatever doesn’t come on that barge is flown in, so the prices are exorbitant. Some things are subsidized, but still the shipping is just ridiculous.” 

She added that when she was there in 2018, a jar of peanut butter was $11, a can of brown beans was $8, and a bag of flour was $25.  

North of 60 doesn’t collect non-perishable food items any more. Since COVID, they buy it outright — often at discounted rates thanks to humanitarian grocers such as Freson Bros. — and then collect monetary donations to cover the expense. The food is mostly for both the food bank in Ulukhaktok and the school’s meal program.  

The project has just marked its 10th anniversary with its latest delivery setting off on its long journey. There are eight such sea cans from the Edmonton area heading to 10 locations in the north. First, they are trucked to Hay River before being put on a barge on the Mackenzie River to be dropped off as they reach the communities, though some continue farther on by land, while others still head out onto the Beaufort Sea for further journeying. 

The six-metre sea can is filled with goods as varied as mattresses, medical supplies, crutches, hula hoops, and clothing items. There they will be distributed to the teen centre, the community centre, the health centre, and more. North of 60 operates on 100 per cent donations and 100 per cent volunteers, and it derives its gift list through the consultation of members of the communities it serves. 

5 Days success? The answer is 'YESS'

The intrepid business students at the University of Alberta made this year's 5 Days for the Homeless a winner. The annual mid-March campaign tallied up $11,802.01, all of which will go towards assisting Youth Empowerment Support Services (YESS) in providing low-barrier support to local youth facing homelessness. 

5 Days is a student-run volunteer organization that puts its participants outside for five days. It's not an easy task, especially with school and other obligations, but it does make a difference. Organizers have raised $2 million for YESS since the event began in 2005. Since that time, the event has been adopted by 23 other universities across the country. Visit to learn more and to make your contribution.

Safe driving for SAIF's Car Rally

St. Albert Stop Abuse in Families is ready to bring the fun. SAIF's second annual Car Rally has an automotive scavenger hunt planned for families and other teams. The event runs from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 11 and registration is $30/vehicle. There will be fun, there will be prizes, and there will be goodwill earned, as all proceeds go to help the organization that offers family violence counseling. SAIF is also looking for local businesses to become sponsors. Please call 780-460-2195 or visit for more information.

On your marks for the Red Shield Ride to come

If you're stoked to spread hope in Sturgeon and Parkland Counties then the Salvation Army has the ride for you: the Red Shield Ride, that is.

The church's first annual bike-a-thon is being designed as a fun, all-ages, and all-abilities community event. The event is scheduled for a 9 a.m. start from the St. Albert Salvation Army at 165 Liberton Dr. on Saturday, June 11.

Individual tickets are $25 each and a family (two adults and up to three kids) is $60. Everybody gets a T-shirt, plus there will be a free barbecue and after-party with awards and prizes. All money raised will stay in the communities of St. Albert, Spruce Grove, and Stony Plain which are served by this church.

People can visit the EventBrite link for more information.

Sunflower seeds available

Pauline Atwood's sunflower project is blooming. People can now pick up packages of sunflower seeds to plant around their homes and neighbourhoods to help welcome Ukrainian refugees who have escaped the Russian invasion and moved to St. Albert.

You can pick up seeds at A Bridge to Life Long Learning ( St. Albert Further Education's Lifelong Learning Centre at Unit 107, 80 McKenney Ave. The office is open Mondays to Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Pride Flag rentals

St. Albert OutLoud has your back when it comes to your front lawn decorating. The local LGBTQ2S+ group is renting rainbow flags for $50/week, $80/month, or $150 for purchase. Each flag is 91 centimetres by 152 centimetres and comes with a 213-centimetre-high pole to be installed by an OutLoud volunteer. 

Scott Hayes

About the Author: Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns, and profiles on people.
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