Living in a food desert in the region of British Columbia, where Red Chris is located, the residents were already familiar with expensive supermarkets, few restaurants and limited access to quality fresh food. When the pandemic struck, and restrictions prevented the locals from travelling outside the Tahltan Territory to source their groceries and household, there were concerns about food shortages.
The idea of distributing food hampers across the area was initiated by the Newcrest Red Chris Community Relations team in consultation with communities and the Tahltan Emergency Management Committee. Together, they identified the most appropriate items to include in the hampers. The logistics and delivery timing were crucial as the area prepared for the second wave of COVID-19 and the associated lockdowns.
The use of a refrigerated trailer and driver to transport and distribute the hampers to the remote northern villages was donated by Bulkley Valley Wholesale and Van Kam Freights, the company that delivers supplies to the mine.
The hampers were delivered to three communities in Dease Lake, Iskut and Telegraph Creek. The total cost of the project was A$486,000, and in total, 1600 hampers were supplied to 400 households across the communities in three separate deliveries.
As a result, the residents had peace of mind during lockdowns, and the food hampers helped mitigate the risk and anxiety associated with potential food shortages.