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Pack the Back event helps families in southern Labrador

Initiative to help others during the holiday season a success


Thanks to the Labrador South Ambulance Service, and some local fire departments, many families from communities in southern Labrador will get some extra help this year.

The ambulance service recently held “Pack the Back” food and toy drives in Cartwright, Forteau and Port Hope Simpson.

The event in Cartwright saw vehicles parked at both the Northern Store and Pardy’s store.

Emergency medical responder Jacqueline Roberts of Cartwright said everyone involved with the drive was surprised and pleased with the generosity of people in the community.

“We took in close to $300 in cash and we got lots of toys and food,” Roberts said.

The drive was held in partnership with the local fire department, she said, and all donations have been provided to the Cartwright Rainbow Centre for distribution.

Emergency medical responder Christine Parr of Port Hope Simpson was also pleased with the turnout at their drive. That ambulance service got help from Community Youth field worker, Gwenda Penney, who will also distribute the donations.

“We got over $200 in monetary donations and a really big supply of groceries,” Parr said. “We got a lot of toys and clothing as well.”

Jeinean Barney is an emergency medical responder in Forteau. The event went over great, she said, thanks to the cooperation of both the ambulance service and the local fire department.

“It was just overwhelming,” she said. “We were set up in the Forteau Community Centre right in front of the fire hall. People donated lovely gifts and lots of food.”

Barney said 19 boxes of food, 18 boxes of toys and clothes and over $600 in gift cards and cash was collected during the drive.

“We had people donate even from the Quebec side and right to Red Bay. And the gifts and food we collected will be distributed from L’Anse au Clair to Red Bay,” Barney said.

Everything collected was provided to the Community Youth Network who will be looking after distribution of the donations.

It was the first time for the ambulance service to host a food and toy drive but, according to the emergency medical responders, it will likely become an annual tradition.

“We will definitely do it again next year,” Barney said.

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