Team effort sends water, other goods to Attawapiskat during water crisis

From left, Stevenson Staios, staff member of Thunder Bay Airlines, Chris Theriault, Allstate Insurance agent, and Anthony Gilin, president of Mine Safety Solutions, pose with cases of water and freezies that were part of a care package sent to help Attawapiskat amid its water crisis. Supplied/Anthony Gilin jpg, TD

Representatives of two Timmins businesses have partnered to raise funds – and subsequently, ship a collection of goods – for people in Attawapiskat, where a water crisis has been in effect since early July.

Anthony Gilin, president of Mine Safety Solutions, along with Chris Theriault, an Allstate Insurance agent, reached out to Jackie Shisheesh, the health director in Attawapiskat, to see what they could do to help.Together, Gilin and Theriault raised $650 to ship packages of goods that, in addition to cases of water, included shampoo, conditioner, socks, hand soap, baby wipes, hair elastics, colour glue, sketch pads, pencils, crayons, freezies, pasta and 50 pounds of ground beef.

Anthony Gilin poses with packages of pasta that were included in the donations. Supplied/Anthony Gilin jpg, TD

The money was raised through a social medial campaign, in which Gilin and Theriault posted on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram bring awareness to Attawapiskat’s situation (reportedly, there are disinfection by-products called trihalomethanes in the community’s water supply).

Online responses to the social media posts came not only from Timmins, but also in places outside the community such as North Bay and Thunder Bay.

“I was surprised to see people supporting this great cause in a short period of time over the social media platforms,” Gilin said. “I didn’t even expect that I would get help from this many companies from all the different areas.”

Gilin wanted to acknowledge and thank all the following companies for their support toward the cause: Air Creebec, Thunder Airlines, Geseron Employment Consulting, JR Digital, Eagle Eye Drilling, BioNorth Solutions and Ross Wert.

“These are all those companies that I deal with my own company (Mine Safety Solutions) and we all came together to help out for this great cause,” he said.

On Friday, the first shipment of goods was flown to Attawapiskat by Air Creebec. Then on Monday, Thunder Airlines sent a flight with more goods.

“The support that I got from the two airlines made this possible to send in the care packages to Attawapiskat,” Gilin said.

According to Gilin, there is also a lack of food supply at the grocery stores in Attawapiskat. That’s why other goods were delivered, in addition to water. For now, though, he said that they are not accepting additional donations.

Richa Bhosale