Interior Alaska mines donate to Fairbanks Senior Center, Meals-On-Wheels

(Courtesy Fairbanks Senior Center)
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) Kinross Fort Knox Mine, Northern Star Resources Limited, and Usibelli Coal Mine collectively donated $21,000 on March 12 to support an emergency funding request received from the North Star Council on Aging for the Fairbanks Senior Center.

The Senior Center has been providing home-delivered meals to seniors at risk for hunger and isolation since 1973 through programs such as Meals on Wheels. In preparation for the potential spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Alaska, the senior center is readying 400 senior-friendly emergency boxes.

Darlene Supplee, executive director of the Fairbanks Senior Center and North Star Council on Aging, said, “these boxes will have easy-open flip-tops and will feature balanced meals to many of our community’s seniors for 14-days.”

The senior center expects that more than $25,000 in funding will be needed to assist the area’s at-risk aging population. However, they say the funds from Kinross, Northern Star Resources, and Usibelli will significantly help them get started. “The Fairbanks Senior Center is ecstatic to receive such a generous offer from the Interior mining community. Their consistent support of our senior population truly touches us,” Supplee stated.

In addition to the support from the Interior mining companies, the Fairbanks Senior Center also received a $2,000 private donation. “We hope that a collective financial gift on behalf of the area's operating mines will prompt others to consider a donation themselves, no matter the size,” said Anna Atchison, external affairs manager for Kinross Fort Knox Mine.

According to the senior center, the cost of a two-week box averages sixty-five dollars, just five dollars a meal. “The generosity of these mines are the reason we can provide senior friendly, shelf-stable food boxes at this critical juncture as we prepare for the weeks ahead,” said Supplee.

The mining industry has a long history of supporting the many non-profit agencies in Alaska that provide services to those most vulnerable and in need in our community. “It was an easy decision to support the request,” said Lisa Herbert, vice president of public relations for Usibelli Coal Mine. “We applaud the senior center for being proactive as the state and borough try to determine how much, and in what specific ways, the COVID-19 pandemic will impact us.” Pogo mine’s, external affairs manager, Wendie MacNaughton added, “given our geographic location, it’s important to put a plan in place that will assist our community’s seniors.”

The Fairbanks Senior Center will closed their building to all foot traffic back on Monday, March 16, to reduce the possibility of the virus getting inside the building. Those that wish to donate to the Fairbanks Senior Center can do so by calling (907) 452-1735 or online at https://fairbanksseniorcenter.org/.

Kinross Fort Knox would like to add that the Fairbanks Community Food Bank is also in need of donations, with more food going out than coming in right now. They ask residents to consider donating to one of these vital community organizations.

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