Giving to a community in need

Stephen Roberts
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Southern Labrador organizes gift giving project to Black Tickle

Michelle Ryland and Karen Davis wrap gifts to be sent off to Black Tickle. People from all across Southern Labrador contributed gifts to be sent to children in the struggling community. Ryland conceived and organized the project.

The people of Cartwright-L’Anse-au-Clair captured the spirit of Christmas by organizing a gift giving project to the children of Black Tickle.

In recent years, the small fishing village located on the Island of Ponds has faced significant struggles, for instance the closure of their fish plant in 2012.

Both the population and employment have both been on the decline.

According to Cartwright-L’Anse-au-Clair MHA Lisa Dempster, while the district has many issues, she quickly learnt that the town of Black Tickle has a set of issues all of their own.

“Self-proclaimed 'the forgotten people' Black Tickle, once the thriving little town theming with fish and the prime berry grounds, is now left with a people struggling for day-to-day survival just to put food on their table,” says Dempster.

As Dempster’s Executive Assistant Michelle Ryland worked closely with the community, she became burdened with the town’s needs especially as Christmas drew close.

Thus, Ryland asked Dempster if there was something they could do to ensure that the children of the community there had Christmas gifts.

Soon, the project was underway.

Ryland started by e-mailing friends that she knew would be happy to provide a gift or two for a boy or girl. From there, it snowballed as word spread about the project and more boxes and toys began to flood in. The office of Labrador MP Yvonne Jones jumped on board as well.

When it was time to ship the gifts out the weekend prior to Christmas, Ryland had 36 boxes ready to go on Air Labrador.

Dempster also extended a thank you to Air Labrador President and CEO Philip Earle.

“Air Labrador is a small company that gets many requests and demands for their time and service,” she says. “Yet as soon as we contacted him, Philip jumped on board and delivered all the goods to the people.”

She says the whole project showcased the goodness and altruism of the people of the district.

“What is amazing about this story is that we have places like Pinware, which has its own issues and struggles, and they gave so generously to Black Tickle as well,” she adds.

“This is what Christmas is really all about: giving to those less fortunate.”

Geographic location: Black Tickle, Cartwright, Island of Ponds Pinware

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