Students pose for a picture with donations that were prepared for Neskantaga First Nation. (Photo by Victoria McDonald)

Tilbury Donations Three Transports And A Plane Away

It’ll take $40,000 worth of transportation to get there, but donations to help out a remote First Nation reserve are finally on their way.

St. Francis Catholic School in Tilbury is sending over 100, 102-litre tote boxes to Neskantaga — a fly-in community located in the northern reaches of Ontario on the Attawapiskat River.

A student poses for a picture with donations that were prepared for Neskantaga First Nation. (Photo by Victoria McDonald)

A student poses for a picture with donations that were prepared for Neskantaga First Nation. (Photo by Victoria McDonald)

Neskantaga has been under a boil water advisory for more than 20 years and has no access roads, making the expense of transporting basic goods — which is limited to air travel — astronomically high.

“We had to coordinate a lot of different companies that gave their time and free transportation,” says Monique Castonguay, the First Nation, M├ętis and Inuit lead at the Conseil Scolaire Catholique Providence, the French language separate school board. “Wasaya Airways has generously donated their ability to fly everything in, and the trucking companies that are willingly transporting all of this stuff, so yes it is very, very costly.”

Castonguay says the school’s massive shipment was loaded onto a transport Thursday and is making its way to Thunder Bay. It’ll then travel to Pickle Lake, where it’ll board a plane to its final destination.

“It’ll be shared between three transports to get to Pickle Lake, which is the end of our roads as we know it, and then Wasaya Airways will be picking up from there,” says Castonguay, who estimates it’ll take about a week to arrive at the school in Neskantaga. “I’ve been communicating with the school principal in Neskantaga and they’ve been anxiously waiting.”

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Students send off a truck full of donations that were prepared for Neskantaga First Nation. (Photo by Victoria McDonald)