History

After completing many international missions, in 2007, someone asked, why don’t you do something in your own country.  It was a thought-provoking question.  The response from Cataraqui United was amazing.  A group of about six of us began studying Indigenous culture. For two years we attended workshops, educational sessions and learned.  This included sitting with Jonathon Maracle in a tipi where we heard his words of wisdom.   He said: “Go into the community and be with (rather than for); get to know the people.  With your heart and soul in the right place, the trip will be productive.”

Jay Montour, in Moose Factory welcomed Irene Clarke and Doris Thomas with a tour of the island and the beautiful youth centre where he worked. On this visit Jay introduced us to Charlie Cheechoo, the elected deputy chief who told us of a youth who was having a difficult time who had come to his office and said, if I could only get out on the land, maybe life would be different.  In response Charlie founded Project George.  After about six years of annual weekly visits we were fairly well known as we were a minority.  As a result, we made friends, listened to the stories and learned about the challenges, many around the cost of food and energy.  Lisa Sutherland told us about the previous year’s Christmas food drive where they needed ninety-five baskets and only had enough food for sixty and some who donated, really should have been receiving rather than giving.  We found the generosity and sharing in the community a heart-warming experience.  She also told us of the SWAP that she held where they gave away clothing to those who need.

It was time to put what we had learned into action.  Linda Tucker came on board and accepted the food drive campaign.  That year we sent 3,000 pounds of food north filled with the items Lisa said her team felt would be most welcome.  This food campaign momentum continues with 4,325 pounds this past year.  Irene and Doris accepted the clothing and bedding challenge and initially sent nineteen bags, this past year 107 twenty-five-pound bags went to Moose Factory and beyond.

In June 2018 Irene and Doris opened the Misiway shop in Moosonee. This provides an ongoing opportunity to shop for nearly new items that are affordable.

In the north the winters are long and hockey is a great way to have fun and expel energy. But first you need to have equipment to learn to skate.  Helmets are a must.  Again, generous people came forward and the request was soon filled. 

In 2017 Friends for change were welcomed by Friends of the North Misiway and were instrumental in the increase in donations to the north.  Each person brings their individual gifts and talents and work with a passion to make a positive difference to those life in the north. Twenty nineteen welcomed the connection to Helping Hands in the Port Hope area who have many resources.  Twenty nineteen was the year we partnered with True North Aid. 0000

Four Winds Presbytery

In September 2018 the United Church Four Winds Presbytery generously donated $5,000 to Friends of the North Misiway.  These funds will be used to continue the work with Kid’s Club in Moose Factory.  We are truly blessed to receive these monies.  During August four members of Friends of the North spent a week with sixteen youth, providing them with morning snacks, a hot meal at lunch and afternoon treat.  As well we provided craft materials, games and stories and lots and lots of hugs. 

Contact Us

Committee Members:

  • Doris Thomas
  • Irene Clarke
  • Linda Tucker
  • Janice Barling
  • Pat Cauldwell
  • Monica Ishihara
  • Susan Leslie
  • Susan Lew

Introducing ourselves:

Co-founder, Doris Thomas has made countless trips to Moose Factory and area to establish friendships.  She and her sister Irene are the initiators for all Friends of the North Misiway programs serving Moose Factory.

Annual Food Bag Drive 2018 – October and November

We are now accepting food bags for needy families in the north.  Details are included in the flyer below; please give us a call if you have any questions and feel free to invite friends or neighbours to get involved.   Shipment of your donations will be sent from Kingston during October, November and early December.  Any bulk foods donated will be sent to school ‘healthy food’ programs.  Thank you for sharing your abundance.

Book Donations Delivered

Thank you everyone for your donations of the book fatty legs; the personal account of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton and her experience at a residential school.  Thank you for reading, sharing and learning about the twists and turns of Margaret’s history.

Books were delivered, in August, to the past Principal of Moose Factory Ministik School.  The books were on the School’s wish list and we are thrilled that with your help, enabled this wish to come true.  The books will be studied this fall and kept in the school’s library for grade 6-8 class study.

A few books were also left in Moosonee for local families to share.

Locally, a number of books have been kept by teachers, here in Kingston, for student study.  Copies of fatty legs is available, locally at Indigo.

Opening of Misiway Sharing Centre, Moosonee – April 2018

Thanks to the support of the Kingston community and afar, shipments of clothing and personal supplies continue to be sent to friends in the north.

This includes communities of Moose Factory, Moosonee, and moving north to Kashechewan and Attawapiskat.  A modestly priced clothing store was set up in the spring of 2018 to create a sustainable centre for the people in and around the Moosonee area..  Better quality items are sold and the centre provides part-time employment and training.  We do, however, continue to send most clothing and supplies to benefit needy individuals and families.

First a location was found and racks for the clothing purchased here in Kingston (from Sears when the Sears store closed).  A van was rented, filled to the brim with inventory and furnishings, then driven (by road and by train) to Moosonee for the initial set-up and grand opening.  A special note of appreciation to Ronnie for her care and capable operation of the Misiway Sharing Centre during the summer months.

Arriving by train from Cockrane to Moosonee Ontario.

By train from Cockrane to Moosonee – a 5 hour trip.

Moosonee is located about 7 km ‘inland’ from James Bay. Moose Factory is an island just a 10 minute boat ride away; water taxi and barge to are available in summer months by water and by ice road in winter moths.

Misiway Sharing Centre is located one block away from the main street in Moosonee and one block from the water taxi area serving Moose Factory.

Modest signage, but warm welcoming to all ages.  Open three days per week. Staffed for the local communities by local residents.

Welcoming Nook is supplied with complimentary books and personal items.

Quiet reading in welcome nook.

Linens such as warm blankets, sheets and towels – even soap have their place.

Dress up clothes (men’s shirts/pants) for special occasions and supplies such as wool to create unique personal items.

Hats for school and the great outdoors.

Sunglasses to dim bright glare of pristine winter snow.

Nearly new toys and baby needs can be pricey and limited in supply in the north. Thank you for sharing what you may have in abundance.

    

The purchase of good quality winter items and some sizes can be a challenge in the north. All sizes, in addition to XL, XXL, XXXL items are appreciated.

Backpacks and warm boots for school age children are always needed. Both Moosonee and Moose Factory have schools.

 

Moose Factory Water Taxi Dock.

Spring is Here!

Our friends in the North would appreciate spring jackets  and splash pants as well as rubber boots.,especially children.  There are no sidewalks or paved roads in Moose Factory, so when the frost comes out of the ground it is muddy.

Thanks so much. 

Coming into 2018

More and more people are becoming Friends of the North and contributing to the Moose Factory programs. From school classes, choir, churches, Friends for Change, Metro, to families and individuals. Countless volunteer hours have gone towards connecting with our Brothers and Sisters in the North. This year 82 bags of clothing were sent north. In addition, a total of 132 food bags; an unbelievable 3,300 pounds, were shipped to the people in northern communities. We are excited to see what 2018 has in store for us !