Sharing our Christmas, an ambitious aluminium can collection initiative, has been an annual tradition at Complexe Jonquière for over 35 years. The funds raised go to families in need, with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul overseeing the distribution.
Initially launched by the Security team, Share our Christmas is now supported by a handful of dedicated volunteers, including Jonathan Dumoulin, Rio Tinto Security Officer, who coordinates the various steps, from collecting and recycling the cans to preparing the food vouchers, which are valid at participating grocery stores.
“We give vouchers worth $25 and $50 to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul,” explained Dumoulin. “The organisation then identifies families in need and distributes the vouchers, which are used to buy food. Our contribution helps about 200 families every year.”
The money raised by Rio Tinto not only helps families in need but also supports the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, whose services are sought out all year long. “Without the help of external donors like us, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul would have almost no money left at the end of the year, as it works month after month to help people experiencing difficulties.”
This year, in response to increased requests for food assistance and the large number of families in need, Rio Tinto Aluminium Canada Fund doubled its contribution, donating $15,000 on top of the $2,000 generated by the collection of cans. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul will end up receiving a total of $17,000— $4,000 more than last year.
“The volunteers at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul were very moved by this donation from Rio Tinto. The pandemic has impacted the collection of cans, resulting in lower numbers than in the past. However, we knew that there was a significant need for food assistance, and that we had to find a way to help as many people as possible. Sharing Our Christmas is an initiative that does a lot of good.”
In the mid-1980s, the Security team would visit people’s homes to deliver food baskets and Christmas turkeys. “It’s a cause that is very close to our hearts and that we believe in,” said Dumoulin. “This initiative has grown and evolved with us over the past 35 years. We are really devoted to it.”