Tikinagan supports Mishkeegogamang during COVID surge

While several of Tikinagan’s First Nation communities are still navigating COVID-19 and the spread of the omicron variant, the agency and its staff remain available to support children, youth and families – often in the simplest of ways. 

This week, staff delivered more than $8,000 worth of goods to Mishkeegogamang First Nation, including more than 100 cases of water, cleaning supplies, medication, groceries, and snacks and games for the children. The community is dealing with a high number of COVID cases. Tikinagan Staff will be sending additional supplies next week. 

“Supporting our communities in times like this is important,” explained Thelma Morris, Tikinagan Executive Director. “We want our communities to know we are there for them. Whether it’s fire evacuations in the summer or COVID-19, I am so thankful for the hard work and dedication of our staff who support our communities when trying to managing these hurdles. By working together, we all support the wellbeing of our children and youth, as well as those caring for them.”

Beatrice Kakepetum and Butch Magashazi, Tikinagan Direct Service Supervisors, with their haul in Mishkeegogamang First Nation.

Mishkeegogamang is not the only community that Tikinagan serves currently dealing with a high number of COVID cases. This week, Fort Hope and Kasabonika are dealing with their own outbreaks.

“The Chiefs created Tikinagan to support and strengthen our children, our families, and our communities, and that’s what we’re going to continue to do. Healthy families and communities mean they have the essential items, such as water and food. Equally important, we want to take care of children.”

Beatrice Kakeptum, Direct Service Supervisor at Tikinagan, said although ordering and delievering the goods was a tiring experience — including travel by vehicle in snowy conditions at night — the effort was worth it.

“It felt good for Tikinagan to help out with the crisis there, especially the kids,” said Kakepetum. “We had to haul the water on and off the trailer. That was our exercise. It was good, though. It feels good to help.” 

Butch Magashazi, Direct Services Supervisor at Tikinagnan, said he had two firsts on this trip: it was his first time to Mishkeegogamang and his first time buying that much water.

“We got a good response from pandemic team,” he said. “The community also found out we brought up medications and they were thankful for that, too, because they really needed it.

“I’m thankful we were able to help the community and I know more help will be needed down the road. I am glad our agency is able to help and be in a position like this and at a quick pace, too.”