Abluqta Society member Erin Strachan was impressed with Agnico Eagle almost from the first minute the mining company became involved with the society in Baker Lake, and that respect has only grown with time.

Strachan said Agnico Eagle has really done a lot to support the Abluqta Society in Baker, and that now includes helping to supplying a little manpower to help out with regular society activities, not to mention when large orders of donated food arrives in the community that has to be unpacked, stored and made ready for when the society holds one of its food banks.

Baker Lake’s Abluqta Society treasurer Valerie Wells-Dorey looks over the frozen chicken products donated to the society’s food bank this past December as society vice-chairperson Lianna Pattunguyak looks on from directly behind her in Baker Lake. Photo courtesy Abluqta Society

She said Agnico Eagle has a large number of employees in the community who can’t go back to work at the Meadowbank mine right now because of Covid, so they started what’s come to be known as the Good Deed Brigade.

“The brigade is made up of Agnico Eagle employees who are currently being paid 70 per cent of their salary, I believe it is, even though they’re at home because of the virus,” said Strachan.

“The company told their employees that they’d top up their salary to 100 per cent for the days they worked, if they agreed to go and help out and work at the food bank.

“So the way it all worked out is that we’ve actually gotten helpers from them, and this is like a really big deal for us because finding volunteers to help out with society events like the food bank is not always easy.

“We do, of course, have a couple of diehards who help out with just about everything but we often don’t have enough to get things done properly, so having Agnico Eagle actually step in and send their employees to help out has just made a world of difference for us.”

Strachan said having the extra helpers meant that the society could keep operating during the pandemic, and that wasn’t a for sure by any means because everyone on the Abluqta board also works at other jobs.

“In fact,” Strachan added, “the chair of our board, Silas Arngna’naaq, has several jobs, so Agnico Eagle sending us helpers has really had a big impact on us.

“You know, not only did they provide us with funding so that we could operate our food bank, when we had to call them and say we were having trouble getting volunteers, they were right there helping us find a solution.

“To me, that’s like going above and beyond. It’s not just here’s the money to take care of our corporate social responsibility. It’s them saying we want to actually help you make this work because we know how important it is for the community.

“So I have to say hat’s off to them. They’ve really impressed me ever since we started working with them.”

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