SIX NATIONS — On March 17, Mohawk Towing and Porter Construction noticed the the issues of price gouging and hoarding during the onset of the current COVID – 19 pandemic, and their concern for the elders of Six Nations brought about the decision to put together care packages. By March 20, 172 elders were reached and the initiative reached viral status.
Support, volunteers, donations and more came from all corners of the community, overflowing the initial plan to hand out 20 packages, to over 200.
“It all started from watching the news and us going shopping and stuff and really seeing some of our elders out but not any supplies,” said co-owner April Powless. “You hear that those are your vulnerable sectors, they shouldn’t really be out this much.”
“We’ve had so many people stepping up that have helped so to me, it was really impressive for our community, it showed how many people wanted to help our elders and I think we’ve gotten well over six thousand dollars in donations and we’ve spent over fifteen thousand, almost seventeen now,” she said.
Powless explained that for the boxes, they give a case of water and dried goods as well as milk and cheese. She said that meat has been hard to come by, but hunters in the area have also provided donations of game meat and fish. She added that often, people that have fixed incomes will donate up to one hundred dollars worth of goods.
“It’s really touching and we’ve had elders calling back in tears, you know, thankful and grateful,” she said.
Karl Green, a deliverer of the goods, added that delivering the packages also brings about emotions and even more gratitude and kindness.
“They said ‘thank you so much’ because they couldn’t get out [to shop],” said Green. “They said ‘I had absolutely nothing, thank you so much.’ I almost teared up delivering packages like that.”
“Another one there, they said they went out to try to get stuff but as you can tell, the stores are picked clean and we took them their package because they said ‘I couldn’t handle the stress and I just turned around and went home, so thank you so much,’” he said.
Green said that the current state of going out to shop is “craziness” to go out in, which prompted the business to think of the elders.
“We all sat down here and wondered what we could do to help our community, and this is what we came up with,” he said. “We didn’t think it would blow up this much, but as one would say, the post went viral,” he said.
“I’m amazed at the outpouring of support from the community, and something so small, thinking that we could help certain people, it blew me away at how big this went.”
Powless said that the business was in contact with the Six Nations Food Bank to work out a partnership to service the community, as the initiative is also helping out those that face disabilities and more.
“It’s Haudenosaunee people coming together and saying that we are going to take care of our community, so I’m just really glad to be a part of that, and it’s blown me away with how may people have stepped up to help in any way that they can,” she said.
She included that if they were to help an elder in a given area, the elder would use word of mouth to let others know that the business is ready to help. The packages have now reached many within the community, and the business has even been contacted by individuals living in the USA to take care of their relatives in Six Nations.
“It was kind of sad because someone asked us if this was just for ‘longhouse people’ and I said ‘no, this is for anyone in the community,’” she said.
Co-owner Jesse Porter added that the business has no other reason to do this other than to help.
“We want to help people as much as we can,” he said. “We just want things to stay positive.”
Powless said that the business has received calls “non-stop,” and on Monday, the business posted to Facebook that “if you are an elder of 60 or above, or know of an elder who is in need please give us a call at (519)445-1786 between 9am and 5pm!”