Thunder Bay

Roots to Harvest 'blown away' by $80K donation

An organization that does work around food education and food security in Thunder Bay, Ont. says a donation of $80,000 from mining industry players in the region will help it to 'say yes' to more requests to help provide quality food in the community.

A collective of mining industry players in the region contributed to the donation

Erin Beagle, executive director of Roots to Harvest in Thunder Bay, is shown in this 2020 picture with a van loaded with food to be distributed to families in Thunder Bay as part of the organization's efforts to get food to people in need during the pandemic. (Erin Beagle/Roots to Harvest)

An organization that does work around food education and food security in Thunder Bay, Ont. says a donation of $80,000 from mining industry players in the region will make a big difference.

"I was blown away and … really overwhelmed, to tell you the truth, because $80,000 translates to so much impact that we can have," said Erin Beagle, the executive director of Roots to Harvest, of the donation which was announced Tuesday.

Close to a dozen mining sector companies in the city and region pitched in.

Beagle said a donation of that size is exceptional for her organization and allows them to "say yes" more often to requests to help provide quality food in the city and region.

Over the past year, Roots to Harvest has shifted its focus significantly from food education programs (many of which have been on hold due to restrictions) to a pandemic emergency effort aimed at getting food to people who need it, through food hamper programs and other initiatives. 

Beagle said knowing this money was coming has already helped the organization to continue with several efforts that began over the past year. For example, the organization was able to help provide food to residents in the city's COVID-19 isolation shelters.

It's also been able to continue running a food hamper program for seniors for longer than expected.

The donation will also allow the organization to work with First Nations communities on food security initiatives. 

The work Roots to Harvest has been doing has made an impression, said Bryan Wilson, general manager of Impala Canada's Lac des Iles Mine. 

"I think Roots to Harvest is a good organization to give money to, I mean they're supplying fresh fruits and vegetables to people in the community that aren't able to work right now," he said. 

He added that because the mining industry is designated as an essential service that's been able to continue operating through the pandemic, they're also in a position to give. "And we want to give back, we want to be able to recognize people that aren't quite as fortunate right now," he stated.

Impala, along with Barrick Gold and Newmont Canada were the primary contributors to the donation which was also supported by New Gold, Clean Air Metals, Noront Resources, Intercity Industrial Supply, Belterra Corporation, Superior Propane, Lakehead Ironworks and ITEC 2000 Equipment and Hydraulics. 

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