Operation North Pole

by mariasilva

For over 30 years, The Salvation Army in Yellowknife has provided a food hamper program over the Christmas season called: Operation North Pole. This program helps bring the holidays to remote communities all over the Northwest Territories, including some only accessible by plane or by a 7+ hour drive from Yellowknife.

This year, Operation North Pole served Behchoko, Fort Providence, Fort Simpson, Lutselk’e, Gameti, and What’I with 245 food hampers – three of those communities had their hampers flown in.

The partnerships with Air Tindi, who flies in the hampers by donating cargo space, and Northbest Distributors, who supplies the food and provides the location for hampers to get packed and delivered, are the reason Operation North Pole was such a success.

The hampers included ingredients for a Christmas feast, such as stuffing, turkey, instant potatoes, canned peas and carrots, gravy, cranberry sauce, hot chocolate, and chocolate cake mix.

The food hampers that were driven out to communities were packed up in bulk and distributed by the local community to those who applied for assistance.

This year, a small number of volunteers helped package and distribute hampers to the communities that agreed to partner with The Salvation Army.

It takes months of reaching out to communities to find out who is interested in partnering with The Salvation Army. Contacts with other community leaders, government agencies, and community centers are a few of the partners contacted about Operation North Pole. The army relies on the knowledge of community leaders in order to get an idea of how many families will be interested in a food hamper.

“This part of Christmas is once a year, but if we have the ability to help other communities beyond Yellowknife throughout the year, we will,” Jason Brinson, Cadet Executive Director & Associate Corps Officer said.

The Salvation Army in Yellowknife continues to form connections with areas all over the Northwest Territories. When help is needed, and they are able to provide the service, the army is there to help those who need assistance.