Kevin Anderson with files

KAPUSKASING – The Kapuskasing Food Bank received a large $4,000 CAD donation from the Rayonier Advanced Materials (RYAM) Foundation last week, which boosted the Food Bank’s Christmas Program.

RYAM’s Kapuskasing Newsprint Mill originally reserved the money for its annual Holiday Party, but the Mill decided to do something different this year.

“We considered this the perfect time and opportunity to help out our neighbors in need,” said Steve Gagné, general manager at RYAM’s Kapuskasing Newsprint Mill. “Everyone deserves a hot meal and presents this time of year. We’re so happy we could provide that for at least some of our neighbors who are going through tough times.”

Run by the Rotary Club of Kapukasing, the Kapuskasing Food Bank serves around 200 families every year. The Rotary Club used the money to buy gifts for the children, provide special food vouchers for families, as well as an extra-large meal for families on Christmas Day.

Rick Bartlett, one of the lead hands at the food bank said RYAM’s donation was most welcome.

“It gives us an opportunity after Christmas, when times get pretty lean to continue to be consistent in our service to our clients,” he said. “We’re embarking on a new problem with the Centre de santé communautaire de Kapuskasing et region to bring in some senior citizens who may be experiencing difficulties.

“This type of investment gives us a lot more ability and opportunity to offer more to our clients. It’s an awesome contribution on their behalf and we’re very grateful.”

The Food Bank also plans to use the money to stock its pantry with food bought in bulk and at a special price. The Rotary Club said they expect RYAM’s $4,000 donation to yield $8,000-$9,000 worth of food.

“We’re proud to contribute to such a worthy cause during the holiday season,” said Julie Culverhouse, Pulpmill and Yard superintendent at RYAM, and head of the committee that decided to donate the funds to the Kapuskasing Food Bank. “The Food Bank serves so many families in our community and it’s heartwarming to know those families won’t go hungry this Christmas.”

RYAM’s generosity didn’t end there.

The company’s sawmill dvision also donated $2,000 to Habitat Interlude, to help the local organization make their clients’ holiday season a little brighter.

Roxanne Lessard, the Community Outreach Worker for Habitat Interlude said she was thrilled with the donation and that the money would be put to good use.

“It means a lot to us,” she commented. “With this, we’ll be able to give Christmas gifts to the women and children currently at Habitat and bring a little joy to them at this time of year.”

“We feel it’s important to give back to the community,” said RYAM Kapuskasing’s Sawmill Production Superintendent Stéphane Pilon. “In this instance, we’re talking about a segment of the population that maybe gets overlooked and we’re happy to have the opportunity to make their Christmas a little nicer.”