Impala Canada knows all too well the impact COVID-19.
The owner of the Lac des Iles mine, northwest of Thunder Bay, was forced to shutter operations temporarily earlier this year when an outbreak of the virus hit their worksite, leading to the death of an employee.
It made them acutely aware just how dangerous COVID-19 can be, and even more determined to make a difference.
The company has since contributed more than $100,000 in financial support and personal protective equipment and supplies, aimed at helping community organizations in the region safely navigate the pandemic.
They did so in a number of different ways.
Partnering with Roots to Harvest, they helped add fresh food like eggs, meat and dairy to existing food deliveries to nearby Indigenous communities like Gull Bay First Nation, Whitesand First Nation and Fort William First Nation.
It’s a partnership that just made sense, said Roots to Harvest’s Erin Beagle.
“All in this together has long been the mantra at Roots to Harvest, and the COVID-19 pandemic brought this to the next level," she said. "We needed partners who could pivot with us to support individuals, families and communities facing food insecurity, and the Impala Canada LDI team recognized the impact they could have by donating to this effort."
Impala Canada also made a donation to the Regional Food Distribution Association in Thunder Bay, an organization that provides supplies to food banks throughout Northwestern Ontario.
To help alleviate a personal protection equipment shortage in the region, Impala Canada also purchases non-medical face masks from Covergalls, a Sudbury company owned by mining entrepreneur Alicia Woods that re-tooled its Ontario factory to make 100 per cent cotton, reusable and washable face masks.
Impala is also supporting Covergall’s Canada Strong campaign, which sees $5 from every face mask sale donated to help purchase PPE for residents and staff in long-term care facilities across Canada, the segment hit hardest by COVID-19.
The company also made a gift to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre Foundation, which has also seen donations drop significantly since the pandemic began.
“Every day seems to bring a new challenge, but also heart-warming demonstrations of people pulling together to get through this pandemic. The Impala Canada donation went directly to support our front-line workers caring for patients battling COVID-19 here at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre,” said foundation president Glenn Craig.
Tim Hill, chief executive officer at Impala Canada, said most of the workers at the Lac des Iles mine hail from Northwestern Ontario and it quickly became clear how important it was to lend a financial hand to the region in which they operate.
“As a team and as a greater community, we are always stronger together. The team at LDI and the people of Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario are resilient, and collectively we have risen to the challenges associated with COVID-19,” Hill said.
“As members of this community, we asked ourselves, how can we make a meaningful impact? We responded by lifting some of the burdens to help people cope and stay well.”