THUNDER BAY — Mikinakoos Children's Fund is trying everything it can to help children in remote First Nations communities in the northwest.
After applying to Canada Post's Community Foundation grant, Mikinakoos CEO Emily Shandruk learned they would receive $25,000 to help fund some of their work, which will be used for their Healthy Living Program.
While trying to support 33 communities, Shandruk said they'll have to look at current and past requests for support on how to disperse the cash.
"Twenty-five [thousand dollars] does sound a lot of money, but you would be shocked at how quickly that gets spent," she said. "Especially when it comes to sports equipment."
Shandruk said that in 2022, $28,000 was spent to outfit a girl's hockey team with new equipment in Wunnumin Lake First Nation.
She also noted there's been an uptick in requests for sports equipment, especially volleyball, as well as art supplies. Some communities are also asking for school supplies and equipment.
Shandruk relayed the gratitude and happiness of those who have benefited from the support, mentioning how a group of kids participated in a five-day hockey camp with the Kam River Fighting Walleye of the Superior International Junior Hockey League, where they did skills drills, scrimmage games and got to skate with the team.
"I got a text from one of the moms who joined. It was a picture of her son asleep, wearing his Walleye hoodie that they bought while they were in town," she said.
Shandruk said the organization secures much of their financial support from across the province.
"Almost every day, I'm looking for grants and opportunities to apply to get access to more funds," Shandruk said. "We do really rely on the generosity of individuals, corporations, things like that, and we are serving our community."
More information on Mikinakoos Children’s Fund can be found online.