Fairbanks outreach program provides village of Nulato with October events

Published: Oct. 9, 2020 at 5:16 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) -Formed in 2013, Nulato Strong is an outreach program consisting of former residents of the village of Nulato now living in Fairbanks, with the mission of raising funds for community engagement activities geared toward children and families still living in Nulato.

Andrea Nield, Coordinator of Support Services for the Yukon Koyukuk School District told us about their work: “We were raised with a very strong sense of community. We always had a lot of positive influences in our lives there, strong elders and a lot of us, we moved away, and this is just a way to give back to the community that raised us.”

Nulato Strong recently supplied its eponymous village with a Halloween themed activity.

"It’s October, and you would think something a simple as your kid getting to go to the store, and go buy a pumpkin... well, the kids in the village don’t really have that opportunity. In order for a pumpkin to get to their hands you have to physically go and get the pumpkin from the store, bring it to the Wrights [air freight company], pay the freight just so the kid can have it. So every kid in the village, even though they’re on quarantine, they got to have a pumpkin and carve it,” said Nield.

Nulato Strong supports other annual events, including Memorial Day Races, supplying Christmas Stockings, and a Thanksgiving Turkey Shoot.

"We do so many events. We do Easter, Easter baskets for kids...we fund sledding parties,” said Maurine McGinty, Headstart Assistant Manager Tanana Chiefs Conference

The Second Chief of Nulato, Maurice McGinty had this to say: “I think that one year they even sent presents to kids at Christmas time. So indirectly or directly they’ve been very involved with the community of Nulato in their efforts to try and give back and say ‘thank you’. It’s a real nice gesture by former Nulato residents living in Fairbanks to pay back their community a little bit, and every little bit helps. It’s been a real positive effort by everyone.”

According to Paul Mountain, Tribal Administrator at Nulato Tribal Council, their work is especially important now in this isolating time in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic: “And right now we’re on lockdown so the pumpkins really help. Right now it’s even more appreciated that they’re [Nulato Strong] there, cause they’re gonna try and help us get some sanitizing supplies and some necessary medication.”

From Holiday fun to essential supplies in the pandemic, Nulato Strong continues to find ways to support their community.

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