It’s tough living in a rural area. I thought that it was tough living thirty minutes from a store when I was growing up. When I went out to McLeod Lake to deliver diapers, I learned that there were places far more isolated than where I grew up… which was a whole thirty minutes outside of a major metropolitan area. I learned that there are challenges that go far beyond lack of access to a 7-Eleven.
McLeod Lake is a very small settlement north of Prince George. It’s roughly 45 minutes away to the next town… which is still painfully small. When we were first invited to go, I had no idea what to expect. All that I knew was that it was north of Prince George (which I consider to be the edge of the universe). I knew that it was essentially a “diaper desert”: diapers in that area are extremely expensive due to how isolated they are. I talked to Nicole, the services worker in that area, and sort of researched my trip to the reserve like I was a foreign exchange student preparing to go. I tried my best to learn enough to not accidentally offend through ignorance. I asked questions. I did my best to prepare for the trip.
We made the trip out and were amazed. It was far more desolate than I’d anticipated: we drove through a little village that seemed to have about four buildings off of the highway. For over an hour, we had no cell signal. The area was beautiful as it was isolated: we saw bears, moose, deer, and beautiful rock formations. I came to understand a bit more about the challenges as we drove along. The ride was freeing: miles of open road ahead of us. Sometimes we would go miles before seeing a passing vehicle. In the warmth of the summer, it was heaven. In the barren whiteness of winter, however, it would seem isolating.
When we made it out to the reserve, I met some amazing women. They were beautiful, friendly, and charming. They had pride in who they are and were proud of their culture and heritage. In spite of the poverty that can be devastating on reserves, the reserve was a beautiful place filled with proud and strong people. They wanted a way to avoid making the trip to town for things like diapers and formula. Making the trip to Prince George was an all-day event. Making the trip to Mackenzie, while quicker, had higher prices due to the lack of competition and isolation.
Cloth for a Cause provided diaper stashes to the families who applied. Because of the help of our cloth diapering community in Prince George, in a matter of two hours after I put out the request, I was able to obtain diapers in larger sizes to meet the needs of those families. I spent two days in a constant state of amazement: I was moved to tears by the generosity of spirit of the ladies of Prince George. I was awestruck by how the families of McLeod Lake managed to survive and thrive in spite of the challenges that they experience due to location, poverty, and other aspects that can cause families to struggle.
It’s a privilege to go out to these outlying communities to offer assistance. I’m looking forward to doing so again. And it’s not possible without the help of our volunteers and our donors.
If you’re wondering how you can help, you can donate financial assistance to a chapter or to the organization… or you can shop at Funky Fluffy.
How will you help relieve poverty in your area?
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