Rotarians Muriel Tolley and Liam Miszczak pack the first Fort Good Hope shipment over the weekend.


The Rotary Club of Yellowknife has responded to the plight of residents in Fort Good Hope by approving $4,500 worth of much needed basic supplies for the Sahtu community.

Fort Good Hope remains under a public health containment order, after it unknowingly became the site of a COVID-19 superspreader event earlier this month.

Fort Good Hope Chief Tommy Kakfwi subsequently announced a state of emergency had been declared in the community of 500, as a result of the high infection rates and few resources.

"We need help right now, we have a staggering number for a small population," Kakfwi told CBC North. "We don't have a lot of resources to meet our needs."

At an executive meeting last week, members of the Rotary Club of Yellowknife discussed the best way to provide some assistance to the community. International Services Director Jan Larsson reported he had spoken with Kakfwi, who expressed his gratitude for the Club’s interest in helping out.

The Club wanted to be able to act quickly, so a dollar amount was decided upon and volunteers such as Chuck Tolley, Muriel Tolley, Thola Rusike and Liam Miszczak set to work arranging shipment and purchasing of the items.

The first boxes in what will be a multiple-stage shipment were packed over the weekend with 98-pounds of basics such as cleaning supplies, surgical masks and household needs and are ready for shipment later this week via Summit Air.

Movement inside the community has been restricted. Canadian Rangers and other were activated, as assistance was needed in delivering basic supplies to those in lockdown and to keep the community functioning.

Sadly, a beloved 92-year-old Fort Good Hope man passed away last week at Stanton Territorial Hospital after contracting the virus. Gabe Kochon’s passing was the territory’s first death from COVID-19.

There haven’t been any other reports of serious illness so far in this outbreak, which has seen more than 200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date.

The Rotary Club of Yellowknife raises funds throughout the year to help make a difference at home and around the world. And “home” can include communities in need in the NWT.


Story by James O'Connor / Photos by Chuck Tolley.