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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Doig River First Nation recently sparked a challenge that resulted in $15,000 being raised for two Fort St. John non-profits.

On Friday, Doig River First Nation, Úújǫ, and Fraction Energy members presented a $7,500 cheque to both the Women’s Resource Society and the Salvation Army.

The funds were made possible after the companies challenged one another to match donations.

Lisa Jewell, the outreach coordinator for the Women’s Resource Society, said the organization’s client numbers are “through the roof” in 2022.

“We’re seeing families who actually used to be donors coming through this year that have come through, and they are heartbroken and full of embarrassment and shame,” Jewell explained.

“We do our best to try and make them get that Christmas feeling happening still, and we do it by using the donations that we receive from places like Doig and the rest of the community members that are regularly donating to us.”

Jared Braun, executive director of the Salvation Army in Fort St. John, agreed with Jewell’s sentiment.

“Those who are already on the border of dealing with poverty, it pushed them into a place… where they’re dependent on resources they never would’ve thought they had to use,” Braun said.

“We’re honoured to be able to be in that space, to welcome anybody and to give them a dignified experience.”

Doig River started the donation challenge by calling out Úújǫ, who then challenged Fraction Energy. Wayne Rothlisberger, with Úújǫ, explained that it is a Doig River First Nation company, and Fraction Energy is one of its investments.

Brittany Robertson, a Doig River First Nation councillor, explained that one of their cultural values is respecting and helping others.

“We always make sure that we can contribute to the community of Fort St. John,” Robertson said.

“We always like to donate to the Salvation Army and be a part of the Women’s Resource [Society] and help in any way that we can, and this donation helps them throughout the Christmas [season].”

Marc Krauss, Fraction Energy’s chief financial officer, explained that they are located in the community, and part of Fraction Energy’s corporate policy is to donate to the communities the workers live in.

“We get so much from our community, and it’s our job as a corporate entity to give back to the local communities we’re in,” Krauss said.

“We’re happy to be involved and happy to give back to the community that ultimately drives us. I’m glad to be a part of it.”

Doig River First Nation Chief Trevor Makadahay said the First Nation knows the importance of giving back to the community, as some of the members are finding themselves in need of the services provided.

“It’s where we live. It’s our town, too, and we gotta help out,” Chief Makadahay said.

Makadahay challenged other industries to match or exceed the donations given to each non-profit.

“If you can help out the community as much as you can, it would be greatly appreciated,” he added.

The latest donation to the non-profits follows the winter clothing donation given to the Women’s Resource Society by Doig River First Nation and Tourmaline last month.

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Shailynn Foster

Shailynn Foster is a news reporter for energeticcity.ca. Shailynn has been writing since she was 7 years old, but only recently started her journey as a journalist. Shailynn was born and raised in Fort St. John and she watches way too much YouTube, Netflix and Disney+ during the week while playing DND on the weekends.