By Rick Garrick
SHEGUIANDAH FIRST NATION—Deputy Grand Council Chief Glen Hare has made a hobby of dropping off donated goods to community members in need across Anishinabek Nation territory. He recently dropped off a load of donated clothing and other goods to a family of five in Sheguiandah who lost their home to a fire.
“Their house burned right to the ground — they lost everything, even their vehicle,” Hare says. “So I took [the load] to the mom and the three kids and the dad. I said: ‘Listen, you have first dibs on this load, whatever you want.’ She only took four boxes, so I said: ‘No, no, no. You’ve lost everything. You can take the whole thing or whatever, take some more.’ So they filled up a whole pickup truck to the hilt. And she was very happy.”
Hare first began dropping off donated goods a few years ago when he delivered a load of tools that were donated by Anishinabek Nation communities in the Southeast and Southwest regions.
“We put them in the van and when I came up north, I delivered them to a community,” Hare says. “And then it got to be two-or-three communities and then four or five or six and it just went from there. I’ve been doing this for a few years now.”
Hare says the load of donated clothing came from Elva Potter, who called in late April about the possibility of donating clothing and other goods to Anishinabek Nation community members. She learned about Hare’s hobby from Chippewas of Georgina Island Councillor Bill McCue.
“I was kind of curious, so on one of my trips from Toronto, I made a detour and went to her place [near Fenelon Falls],” Hare says. “And my, she is really organized. Everything is in boxes, they’re all separated, [and] they’re all marked. She’s even got some canned goods and food that she packs [to go] with a load.”
Potter says she provided Hare with about 35 boxes and bags of donated clothing and goods for distribution on that first trip.
“When I called [Hare], he seemed really interested so he came and got the first lot just to see what we had,” Potter says, noting that she began collecting donated clothing and other goods for First Nations communities about two years ago after previously volunteering with a group in Lindsay. “We’ve had quite a bit of trouble getting connections, but with Glen I think we’ve hit the jackpot. He’s got the connections.”
Potter says the donations are from “all over.”
“We’ve gone on speaking tours with different groups and just got the word out there,” Potter says. “We have so many people interested in helping, we can hardly keep up. We’ve got one woman who spends $100 twice a year on food to send.”
Hare picked up his second load of clothing and other goods with a U-Haul truck on May 6 and delivered the load to the Sheguiandah family who lost their home that evening. He also delivered half of the donated Baby Layettes to the M’Chigeeng Healthy Babies Healthy Children program and half of the remaining truck load to the M’Chigeeng Education Department. The other half of the Baby Layettes were delivered to the Whitefish River Aboriginal Healthy Babies Healthy Children program and the other half of the truck load went to Whitefish River.
“Next week I’m picking up another load and I’ll deliver it to another community,” Hare says. “All of our communities will take [donations] because that is one thing that is really appreciated.”