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Calm Air hosts a meal on wings

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The 10th annual Calm Air Kivalliq Christmas Feast touched down in Baker Lake earlier this month.

It was the second time Baker hosted the feast, which rotates among Kivalliq communities from year to year.

The 2012 feast is scheduled for Tusarvik School in Repulse Bay.

Calm Air Nunavut area manager Karen Yip of Baker Lake said this year's feast was a race against the clock with yet another blizzard ready to strike the community.

She said the late change of plans in delivering the meal did nothing to dampen the mood in the community as hundreds of people enjoyed the early Christmas feast.

"It was kind of crazy at first because we had to change our seating plan due to the impending blizzard," said Yip.

"We had planned to have two sittings, starting with 250 people at the elementary school around 11 a.m. and then another at 1 p.m. for the high school crowd.

"The blizzard was forecast to begin around noon, so we ramped things up and began feeding more than 700 people all at once at 11 a.m.

"But, even with the chaos, the feast went very well and we received a lot of positive response from the community."

Yip said one young student described the feast to her as being the best day ever.

But, she said, as good as that felt, another student's sentiment that the gathering was like one big happy family really took the cake in summing up the atmosphere.

"It really touches you and makes the feast seem so special when you hear things like that.

"It makes you feel like it's all worthwhile.

"We owe a huge thank you to all the volunteers who help make the feast possible every year."

Everyone who attended the feast - including students, teachers, elders and special guests - was given a ticket and numerous prize draws were held during the event.

A young girl's dance troupe also performed during the gathering.

Yip said seven Calm Air employees from Winnipeg and Thompson made the trip to Baker to help with the feast.

She said there would have been more if it wasn't for the bad weather in the region.

"Our marketing department orders everything for the feast, and I do the organizing at the local level with the school principals in the host community.

"Our feast is a lot of fun and it's great for the kids to have something like this to look forward to.

"There's families in many communities who don't always have enough food and this helps them out, too."

Yip said 35 turkeys were cooked for the feast.

She said there was more than enough food for the meal, so the rest was distributed in the community after the event.

"We took it around to the elders centre, hospice centre, homes of elders and homes of families we knew might appreciate it.

"Some of the people who came from the south were amazed because it was like a real traditional Christmas where you're actually giving to people.

"You may not experience as much of that in a larger place like Winnipeg, for example, as you do here."

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