By Jake Cardinal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
(ANNews) – Saddle Lake Smoke-Eaters LP, an on-reserve company in Saddle Lake Cree Nation, recently donated 120,000 facemasks to First Nations in Western Treaty 6 Territory.
The donations happened in partnership with PPE manufacturer and distributer, Atlas Workwear Ltd, who supplied the masks.
Smoke-eater business manager, Andrew Cardinal, said that “Through a generous donation from our supplier Atlas Workwear and support from our clients and customers – Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, AECOM, TC Energy – and surrounding Nations, we carried out this initiative.”
Saddle Lake Smoke Eaters LP is a non-profit company that “provides employment to our members and caters primarily to Alberta Agriculture and Forestry,” said Cardinal. “The company has been able to provide support in many different ways and this is an example of what we can perform for others.”
“As we view it, it is an opportunity to assist others during difficult times and having the act of goodwill to help ease the tension during this pandemic,” said Cardinal.
Sean Brown, sales manager of Atlas Workwear said, “SL Smoke Eaters identified a need for masks in the community and approached us about teaming up to donate some. This year we have supported the veteran’s food bank and saw this as another great opportunity to support the community.”
Brown continued by saying they “spent a couple of days delivering masks all over Alberta, everyone was appreciative and we were happy to help out.”
The donations happened in the span of two days – Jan 19 and 22 – and ensured “minimal contact and social distancing” while doing so.
“Over 1600 Kilometres were covered during those 2 days in delivery,” said Cardinal, who personally delivered the masks along with Atlas Workwear’s Business manager Sean Brown and President Patrick Wang.
The Nations who received the donations were: Maskwacis, Ochiese, Frog Lake, Onion Lake, Cold Lake, Saddle Lake, Goodfish Lake, Sunchild, and Kehewin.
Atlas Workwear’s President Patrick Wang stated, “Atlas Workwear is proud to support Alberta Indigenous communities.”
“We are all in this together and we will beat the crisis together.”
AECOM, an infrastructure firm who supported the mask initiative, gave a statement to Alberta Native News saying, “Congratulations to SL Smoke Eaters LP for their generous PPE contribution to Alberta First Nations communities.”
“This donation is a much needed boost to our First Nations communities and will help to improve their health and well-being. AECOM recognizes and supports this important initiative.”