When Noront Resources is playing Santa this week to Aboriginal children in the James Bay lowlands.
The Ontario Mining Association reports that Noront and its employees have embarked on its fifth annual Ring of Fire Christmas Fund this week, showering Christmas gifts to children under 13 in the communities of Webequie and Marten Falls.
Over the past four years, Noront has raised more than $75,000 in donations. This year, Noront has purchased and wrapped more than 350 Christmas gifts for children living on and off reserve.
Five years ago, Noront decided to forgo sending Christmas cards to suppliers and put the money into this initiative. The program has grown into an employee initiative with additional financial donations from board members, suppliers and friends of the company.
Participation has come from Nakina Airways, Intercity Canadian Tire in Thunder Bay, Carrick Express, Pennocks, Engage Learn and Connors Pizzeria in Geraldton.
"Watching the reaction of the children from the communities, seeing the joy in their reaction, the wonder in their eyes makes me want to go back year after year as Santa," said Glenn Nolan, Noront’s vice-president of Aboriginal affairs.
"At Noront, we believe it is important to give back to the communities that surround our project," said Kaitlyn Ferris, Noront’s manager of corporate responsibility. "We have seen the benefit year after year of individual recognition that comes from the gifts and personal time with Santa through the youth's bright smiles. These youth and families could potentially be our future employees and it is very important to invest in their well-being and begin to develop and nurture relationships with them."