By Jennifer Thurbide
The Red Lake Area Emergency Shelter received a much needed boost last week when Goldcorp Red Lake Gold Mines management made a visit to the facility.
Gathering at the Red Lake building on Dec. 14, General Mine Manager Chris Cormier brought with him a cheque for $10,000 to support the shelter’s ongoing operations, which Manager Sandy Middleton says will be put toward keeping the doors open throughout the upcoming winter.
“[This money] will go towards operational costs – fuel costs, hydro bills, extended hours would be the biggest thing,” said Middleton.
Last Christmas Goldcorp donated a matching amount which Middleton says has been used to hire staff to allow for longer daytime hours during the coldest months of the winter.
Board Member Colin Meekis adds that the funds were stretched as lean as possible, looking to the weather to determine when to open for extended winter hours.
“This is one reason we went so long in the fall time,” explained Meekis last week. “Normally we would like to try to start [extended hours] by the beginning of October but it was November when we started. This year wasn’t so bad with the [weather].”
Heating the building and keeping the lights on are a major concern for the operation which survives primarily on donations from community organizations. Middleton says there are plans underway to apply for grants to bring in a more cost effective heating system but until further funds are obtained, the group continues to rely on oil heating which can eat through the operating budget quickly in January and February.
Cormier says the locally-based mining company is pleased to be able to provide assistance.
“This is a great cause. Certainly there are people in any community that need support and this cause is one we want to continue supporting. These guys do a great job and put a lot of their own time and effort into making it happen. We think it is great to help as many people in the community as possible.”
Also on hand for the presentation were Shelter Board Members John Fernandez and Alison Trow and Goldcorp’s CSR Manager Dave Gelderland and Community Relations Superintendent Mark Vermette.