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Christmas comes early

Christine Grimard
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 20/06) - An overlooked charity fund at Diavik provided an early Christmas present for three of Yellowknife's cash-strapped social service organizations last week.

Over the past five years, employees and contractors at the Diavik mine site had been donating to the company charity fund. However, nobody knew to whom the money was going.

"They kept putting it in, and didn't take it out," said Sandy Penkala, executive assistant to the president at Diavik Diamond Mines.

The money had been raised through raffles and other events, and by collecting a percentage of sales from the on-site commissary which sells Diavik items.

As staff changed at the mine, the account was left aside.

Upon learning about the account, Penkala and other staff decided it was time the money was put to use. Last week, Diavik presented three cheques of $5,338.82 each to the SideDoor Youth Centre, the Salvation Army, and the Centre for Northern Families.

"When I woke up this morning, I felt like I was coming to see Santa Claus himself," said Garry Hubert, executive director of the Side Door Youth Centre.

Major Bob Mac Kenzie of the Salvation Army said that the money is vital at this time of year, not only to create happy Christmases, but also to enable the Salvation Army to keep helping during the months after the holidays.

"This is a little bit of heaven," said Mac Kenzie.

"They are a bunch of miracle workers."

Mac Kenzie said the majority of the money will go towards the food bank to help feed families in need.