The cost of shipping to remote Indigenous schools is often not something people consider. After 8 years of shipping through Canada Post, I can assure you that it is a vital component when considering the budgetary consequences of falling short. There is a complex balance of when to ship and when not to ship art supplies.
The minimum cost to ship a light box to Iqaluit is about $20.00 - no matter how little weighs. The boxes of art supplies generally weight in about 15-30lbs per box. This can equate to a cost of $40-80.00 (approx) per box. Each school receives a few boxes which means a shipment can cost up to $200.00. From October 1-24th Art for Aid utilized $1,325.96 for Canada Post shipping alone. This is not unusual. Shipping is a primary expense for us and it's a driving factor in why we work so hard to keep the ebb and flow of operational dollars on a steady keel. We ship supplies from September to mid May when we begin the shut down process for the school year (and maybe look forward to a few weeks of down time in the summer before it all begins again).
When the money wanes, we are not able to ship out as much as we like, but it allows us time to do more sorting, more packing, more preparation work for the shipments that will happen later. It's all about keeping the balance. There's seldom any downtime in this process, but the rewards of seeing multiple boxes heading out to make children happy makes the entire process well worth it.
We (I) utilize some remarkable volunteers and without them this would be a lot harder. Covid-19 has brought about many changes to how the donated art supplies are sorted and packed. I've relied more heavily on family members who I live with. I'm so grateful to have the support I have for this work.