Northern gives something back
Home gift bags mark festive season

Glen Korstrom
Northern News Services

NNSL (Dec 11/98) - For many Inuvik residents, Dec. 5 was not only the second to last day of 1998 when the sun would rise above the horizon, it was also a day when a surprise package arrived from the Northern Store.

With 18-wheel trucks still unable to make the trip up the Dempster to bring exorbitant milk prices in line with the regular too-high price, the gift bags containing film, crayons, colouring books, candy and a Christmas card signed by Northern Store staff were a pleasant surprise to many.

"Our company tried in some of the smaller communities last year and the response was tremendous," says Northern Store manager Brian Gladys.

"So, they decided to try it in one of the larger communities and our community was picked. It's not every Northern Store in Canada that is doing this."

Gladys says 900 bags were set to go to every household in Inuvik as a way of thanking the community for continued business and to wish everyone a happy holiday season.

Police helped youth centre regulars deliver the bags. In exchange, Northern made a donation to the centre to keep it operating and paying its heat, light and staff bills.

"This donation will help keep the centre open," says Const. Paul Joy, who works closely with area youth at the centre and in drug and alcohol prevention programs such as drug and alcohol resistance education (DARE)

Meanwhile, many youth centre regulars were quick to volunteer their Saturday to help deliver the bags and earn money to keep the centre functioning.

"I go there to play pool. There are a lot of my friends there," says 15-year-old Darryl Day.

"I go on the computer and watch TV."

If there were no youth centre, he says he doesn't know what he'd do to occupy his time.

Thomas Anthony, 12, similarly likes playing pool, hanging out with friends and lapping up the fun atmosphere of the centre.

If the centre closed, what would he do?

"I don't know. Maybe hang out at Northern."