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How a tweet led Ryan Reynolds to donate winter gear to this Nunavut community

The following story proves that we should never underestimate the power of a single tweet.

In August, Deputy Mayor Janet Brewster of Iqaluit—the capital of Nunavut in Canada—put out a call on Twitter asking for school supplies for students in the area. The tweet proved so successful, that it inspired Inuk singer-songwriter, Becky Han, to do something similar for a school in her Arctic Bay hometown.

She made this tweet on September 17:

Han, now a Saskatchewan resident, reached out to Inuujaq School to check if they needed more school supplies. The principal, Gregg Durrant, told her they had enough, but there was something else they really needed: winter gear.

“You know, as we know, it’s the North,” he said. “It’s pretty cold, and some kids don’t have the proper gear. We have kids among us who really didn’t have enough. Sometimes they would come in and we as staff would think, you know, that this kid really needs a new pair of boots or they need a proper parka.”

It quickly gained traction, until it reached none other than Canadian-American A-list celebrity, Ryan Reynolds.

The actor and producer, known for his deadpan humor, contacted Han and asked her how he could help. She then connected Reynolds to Durrant.

The two exchanged emails back and forth, with Durrant filling the actor in on the students’ needs.

Reynolds then reached out to his friends at Canada Goose and told them about the plight of Arctic Bay children. The company quickly took action, and in less than a week, it gathered hundreds of parkas, snow pants, boots, hats, and mitts.

“It came to my attention students at Inuujaq School in Arctic Bay were going without adequate winter clothing,” Reynolds said in a Canada Goose press release. “Of course, it highlights a larger issue of basic needs going unmet in Canada’s Northern communities. I reached out to Canada Goose to match me in providing these students with essential winter gear. They not only said yes in under 30 seconds but went so far above and beyond matching me. I’m deeply inspired and grateful.”

It took a while to get the package to the hamlet with a population of fewer than 1,000 people. The boots came first, then the wind pants and the parkas.

“So what we had to do was to take the stuff down into the school gym, because that’s the largest space, single most space we have in the school to handle the volume of stuff that we got. So we basically just lined them out by sizes,” Durrant recalled.

The principal said he feels relieved knowing that these 329 students are equipped to face another winter.

Naturally, the kids were, too. They were ecstatic and extremely grateful upon receiving their new gear.

Reynolds’ direct financial contribution to the project wasn’t disclosed, but the impact he has made is apparent.

“When the students were leaving the gym, because they put on their parkas trying to make sure that whatever gear they were getting were suitable for them in terms of size, they were like, ‘Thank you, Gregg! Thank you, Gregg!’ I’m like, ‘Yes, it’s thank you, Ryan! Thank you, Ryan!’” said Durrant.

Canada Goose will expand its Resource Centre Program which aims to donate thousands of repurposed parkas across communities in Inuit Nunangat who need them. They will be working with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami on the initiative.

Han, on the other hand, hopes that through this exposure, southern Canadians will be educated regarding the inequalities endured by Nunavut.

“Some Look at Nunavut as an opportunity. Most of it is coming from a good place but it is coming from a place where they think we aren’t trying to solve or find solutions for ourselves,” she said.

It makes us happy knowing that these children are going to be nice and warm for the upcoming winter!

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