The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is donating nearly $200,000 to support communities and food banks in Ontario. These funds will help provide emergency food access during the global pandemic to Canadian and Indigenous families with children, seniors and people who use emergency meal programs. With the onset of COVID-19, Ontario’s food banks saw a surge in demand with a 26% increase in first-time visitors between March and June 2020, according to Feed Ontario’s Hunger Report .
“Food insecurity is a serious concern across Canada, especially during this global pandemic,” said Lisa Frizzell, Vice-President of Stakeholder Relations at the NWMO. “This funding will provide tens of thousands of meals to those who need it most. We all have a role to play to help people at risk and we are doing our part by partnering with Canadian and Indigenous community organizations in regions where we work to provide direct support.”
The donation will support:
- 14 local and regional food banks in the Ignace, South Bruce and surrounding regions;
- First Nation and Métis communities and five Indigenous Friendship Centres that provide food and support services to community members;
- COVID-19 student emergency support programs at Lakehead University and Confederation College;
- Elderly care packages for seniors in the municipality of South Bruce;
- Women’s shelter in Bruce and Grey County to help individuals in need; and
- Youth Wellness Kits to meet the needs of children and youth in Dryden.
The NWMO will also contribute $16,500 to sponsor several Christmas Hamper programs in First Nation communities it works with to help the holiday season shine a little brighter.
“This generous donation will ensure the Rural Cupboard Food Bank can continue to provide the individuals and families we serve with nutritious food,” said Mark Halabecki, Chair of the Rural Cupboard Food Bank, which serves the rural communities around Thunder Bay. “Since our catchment area is very large and stretches from the US border in the south, to Pass Lake in the northeast, and west to Upsala, this donation will help us ensure no one who needs food in these rural communities will go hungry.”
These latest donations are a continuation of the NWMO’s ongoing response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Over the course of 2020, the organization has actively supported municipal and Indigenous communities in potential siting regions. Recently, the NWMO contributed $15,000 to support Roots to Harvest’s food programs in Northwestern Ontario. In the South Bruce region, the NWMO has made donations to WES for Youth, to support online counselling for youth in the Walkerton area and partnered with others in the industry to support the distribution of hand sanitizer to food banks.
Earlier this year, the NWMO made a $50,000 donation to the Northwestern Health Unit to reach those most in need at this difficult time. The NWMO also supported the Kenora District Municipal Association early in the pandemic to help the organization establish reliable and secure communications between communities in the region during these difficult times. To help organizations obtain facemasks and hand sanitizer, the NWMO donated $15,000 to the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, who helped distribute these items to small businesses and other organizations. A 3D printer donated by the NWMO to the Bruce County Public Library is already being put to use to create “ear guards” that make it more comfortable for front-line workers to wear face masks. The organization also donated masks to Anishnawbe Health Toronto and donated $2,500 to Thunder Bay’s Regional Food Distribution Association to purchase nutritious food for vulnerable groups.