It’s getting to be that time of year again- when people are in the spirit of giving. But imagine if that spirit was year round. Sometimes I feel like it is easy to get sucked into the materialism of the holidays. But how do we separate ourselves from this advertised holiday season and recognize that all these gifts that ‘we need’ are in fact just access things that we want? How do we recognize our greed and instead replace it with appreciation for the things we have? How can we allow ourselves to be happy with what we have?
I think that the holidays are about putting in the extra effort to show our gratitude. Part of being able to show gratitude is recognizing our privilege. This holiday season I am grateful for the people who surround me. Beyond the people that I am surrounded by, I am thankful that I have the opportunity to attend school; to never fear when my next meal will come, and that I have a steady source of income. Although these are some of the things I am fortunate enough to have, I recognize that not everyone has the same opportunities. Our friends in the North have been dealing with unbelievably high food and other good prices compared to their counterparts in the south.
“According to photos that were posted a case of water was being sold for $106, a roast of beef $217, a jug of orange juice $19, and a 4L jug of milk for more than $12.”- Helping Our Northern Neighbours
So how do we help our brothers and sisters up North who are responsible for paying for these costs that are not absorbed by the government? Helping Our Northern Neighbours was a cause that was born in 2014. My mum, Kary Shannon introduced me to the cause. Helping Our Northern Neighbours was started to give a helping hand, support, and encouragement to the development of local initiatives in the Northwest Territories. Members of this group, work collectively to bring awareness to these conditions. This group recognizes that they are not the answer to the problem, but they are a step in the direction to change.
So why does my mum participate?
Kary believes that in a place like Canada we have to have a sense of community. Kary recognizes that for some, life can be anything but easy- especially like those up North without access to food security or clean drinking water. Poor health circumstances are a result of the challenging living conditions and how we have treated the environment- making some parts of the North a toxic environment to live in. My mum sends packages through this organization to families in the North with things such as birthday supplies, non-perishable food items, and toys and gifts for the holidays. These packaged offer a small ray of hope for our brother and sisters up north and help them cope with some of the life challenges they face daily. My mum encourages others to participate in the cause.
“Learning is how you can impact change. And sometimes you can’t change the system but you can help one person instead. So we help Rita. “ –Kary Shannon
Try it out!
This holiday season I helped my mum wrap the gifts we were sending up North to Rita and her family. I love doing this with my mum. Participating in the cause helps me to gain perspective during the holidays months and helps me to resist giving in to the materialistic holiday season. Seeing the price differences between items here versus up North are disgusting. I am so happy there are organizations out there where people have identified this discrepancy, and try to make some change. These packages help families survive. Whether you want to get involved with Helping Our Northern Neighbours, or another non-for-profit organization, I encourage you to this holiday season. Ask for postage equipment on your holiday wish list so you can send your items! It is important to recognize that prosperity is in our own backyards and that we need to do whatever we can to stand in solidarity and support our community. This box is a flat rate box for $20 up to 5kgs! Available at the post office- an affordable way to send goods, anywhere in Canada!
You may not be able to change the systems on your own, but if we all do a little work, we can make an impact. I encourage you to find a cause you are passionate about and get involved! If you are currently involved in a great cause and want to tell us about it share it on the comments below or reach out via social media!
Stay kind and Merry!