Sleeping is a vital component of good health. Without a good night of rest, tasks throughout the day become more difficult and health deteriorates.

For that reason, True North Aid is working to bring mattresses to all of Tsiigehtchic.

“We had a community insider who works with the communities who contacted us,” said project and communications director Amanda Stolk. “They did a survey of the mattresses in the community and sent me some pictures and we decided it was something we definitely have to do.

“A lot of the mattresses are over 20 years old and many were already used when they got them, so why not bring a little bit of comfort to these families.”

One of several northern-oriented campaigns put on by the non-profit, Only a Mattress is a quest to replace every in the charter community to help give the people a boost. She said the idea grew out of work being done by the Gwichya Gwich’in First Nation. Along with the mattresses, the campaign also would bring fresh bed sheets and pillows with each mattress.

Stolk said the campaign was ongoing until they met their goal of replacing 48 queen-size mattresses, frames, covers and pillows, and 28 full-sized mattresses and accessories.


“I haven’t launched the campaign we have yet,” she said. “We’re hoping to feature it as our year-end campaign.

“Everyone deserves a comfortable bed and a good night’s sleep. If you don’t have a good night’s sleep, then you’re not going to be productive during the day. It’s one of the essential things.”

She added the nonprofit had a tentative goal of $70,000 to cover the cost of replacing all the mattresses and the campaign would likely run until January.

Residents of Aklavik work on sewing projects in an undated photo. Two campaigns put forth by True North Aid seek to provide new mattresses for Tsiigehtchic and sewing machines for Aklavik.
Photo courtesy True North Aid.

Sewing machine drive for Aklavik

A second donation drive underway seeks to bring sewing machines to Aklavik.

With a specific goal of $9,189.71, Stolk said the charity has been aware of the need for sewing machines for some time.

“People are just renting and borrowing sewing machines,” said Stolk. “The goal is to purchase four of their own sewing machines for the community.

“We really support self-determination and passing on culture. Hopefully we can get the funds by the end of the year for them to continue to come together as a community to make art and clothing and all that.”

She said the campaign would go on until the money has been collected.

True North Aid was started with the intent of supporting northern communities. Based in Kingston, Ont., the non-profit has spearheaded numerous projects to give a hand-up to Indigenous communities throughout northern Canada.

While the Only a Mattress campaign has yet to officially launch, the Aklavik Sewing machine project is underway. You can learn more about the charity at their website.


Eric Bowling

Covering all things related to the Beaufort Delta, Eric Bowling is your editor for the Inuvik Drum. He came north after cutting his teeth in Alberta. Eric enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee.

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