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Garden River First Nation receives COVID-19 funding for elders, families living off-reserve

Garden River Child and Family Services get a boost from Indigenous Community Support Fund
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File photo. Darren Taylor/SooToday

The federal government is providing at least $50,000 in funding to Garden River First Nation for social supports in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

According to a news release from the office of Sault Ste. Marie MP Terry Sheehan, the undisclosed funding doled out to Garden River through the $90-million Indigenous Community Support Fund is intended to address the needs of the community by providing food, supplies and services. 

"We look forward to receiving the Indigenous Community Support Funds that will address and further support our elders and families with children living off-reserve with their immediate needs by providing essential food and supplies, information, wellness checks and online workshops. These services are being provided by our amazing staff from the Garden River Child and Family Services," said Garden River First Nation Chief Andy Rickard via news release. "I want to express my gratitude to all First Nation leadership and the Canadian Government who pushed hard to make this funding available."

"Times like these have shown us how resilient Indigenous communities are, and I have witnessed incredible actions taken by leadership at all levels to protect the most vulnerable," said Sault Ste. Marie MP Terry Sheehan via news release. "This support will help those who need it most in our community during the pandemic, and I'm proud of Garden River Child and Family Services for their hard work."

The Indigenous Community Support Fund is intended to support essential services for First Nations people off-reserve, in addition to Inuit and Métis people living in urban areas. 

According to the federal government, each First Nation receives a base amount of $50,000, but that amount can fluctuate based upon the total population residing in a community (based on the 2016 census), remoteness and community well-being index scores.

The community support fund is part of $1.7 billion in funding that has been earmarked by the federal government for Indigenous and northern communities and organizations across Canada in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.