IOC helps two community groups in Labrador West stay afloat

·3 min read

Two not-for-profit organizations in Labrador West got a big boost recently from the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC). IOC donated $36,000 to Indoor Play Labrador and the Labrador West Association for Community Living to help them keep helping others.

Cindy Humphries, director of the Labrador West Association for Community Living, said the donation couldn’t have come at a better time. The group, which supports people with intellectual challenges, had to cancel the annual Ken Gage Memorial Bowling Tournament this year due to the pandemic.

The tournament normally raises $12,000 to $15,000 range for the group and is the only big fundraiser they do. They received $15,000 from IOC, which Humphries said will be used for things like tablets, wheelchairs, ceiling lifts and other equipment for families.

“It was a huge help,” she said. “They approached us and asked what we needed, and after some paperwork we had to fill out and whatever they had to do on their end, it came through."

Humphries said they can have up to 100 teams in the tourney some years and it can last for weeks. That simply wasn’t viable with the pandemic health protocols in place, Humphries said, and if things don’t change, they may not have one next year.

“It’s just too much to try and control or monitor that many people,” she said. “You never know, come the new year things could be a lot different but if things are the same, I can’t see it going ahead.”

The other not-for-profit that received funding was Indoor Play Labrador, the organization that manages the Kids Club in town, the only indoor playground in the region. The building was only opened in March and had to shut its doors 16 days later and suspend membership fees due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Jenny Sullivan, president of Indoor Play Labrador, said the $21,000 from IOC came at a great time.

“We were only open for 16 days and had to close, but still had rent and bills coming in, and those bills didn’t stop even though we weren’t bringing in any money as we expected. There was a period of uncertainty, so having that money come in to help with a lot of those expenses now that we’re back up and running has been amazing.”

Sullivan said they had only been able to open initially because of community donations — having raised over $200,000 — and she is always impressed by the support in the community.

IOC president and chief executive officer Clayton Walker said in a statement that not-for-profit organizations are an important part of Labrador City’s social fabric, particularly in a time of crisis.

“Without the unique contributions of Indoor Play Labrador and the Labrador West Association for Community Living, our community would not be as safe, inclusive and fun,” he said. “We are happy to help them promote the health, safety and wellness of our families.”

Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram