The Anglican Diocese of Ottawa says the fundraiser for the Bishop’s Gala has raised $20,000 for new elderly programs at the Inuuqatigiit Center, which serves the city’s Inuit population.
“It felt good,” said Deborah Tagornak, an Inuuqatigiit employee who works in the family welfare program. Tagornak helped organize this year’s gala – which was held virtually on May 26 – and was featured during the video presentation.
“We thought we would get less than $20,000, but we did it. It was a good partnership.”
The Bishop’s Gala is an annual fundraising event hosted by Ottawa’s Anglican community. Past galas have raised money for international welfare and mental health projects in places like Tanzania and Israel. This year the program it aims to help is closer to home.
Ottawa has the largest Inuit population in Ontario. The Inuuqatigiit Center for Inuit Children, Youth, and Families is an Inuit-run support network that provides educational and recreational programs. The center empowers the Inuit community in Ottawa to receive social support in a culturally sensitive environment.
The money raised will go towards new programs for Inuit seniors.
“It’s about laying a foundation for the elderly ward,” Tagornak said. Tagornak said there are nearly 8,000 Inuit people in Ottawa and the elderly need more support, especially during crises such as COVID-19 and the recent storm.
“We have given a lot of COVID-19 support to the elderly, but that was the only funding available to support the elderly,” she said. “This funding will be used to create an entire elders’ department, just like the rest of the foundation.”
Inuuqatigiit helps Inuit people in Ottawa stay connected to their traditional culture. This year’s gala featured Inuit home food and music performances, including a video featuring hit Inuit singer-songwriter Susan Aglukark.
“It’s part of a moment of truth and reconciliation,” Tagornak said. “It builds a more positive relationship.”