John Farrow introduced Amanda Stolk.  Our first encounter with Amanda and True North Aid was assisting them with their collection of medical devices back in 2015.  Amanda was here to tell us about the work of True North Aid as it is today.  She is the Project and Communications Director of the organization.
True North Aid has been in existence since 2009, supporting Canada’s northern communities.  It is based in Kingston but has volunteers in many other places.  There are eight foundation stones to their work.  These are self determination, reconciliation, water, food, health, housing, hope and education.
Amanda outlined some of their key projects.  Currently there is a Covid 19 emergency fund, and they are sending shipments of things like masks and critical care supplies.  The Canadian government is assisting, but sometimes things needed just don’t get there fast enough.  One in ten diabetics will die from this disease and diabetes is a common health issue in the north due to diet.  In fact, many people have a lot more other underlying health problems that make their outcomes poorer.  True North Aid ran a recent campaign to support this need for supplies.
They are currently backing the children’s needs related to learning from home.  Backpacks full of school supplies were sent.  These bore a cost of about $40 each, and were sent to the Clearwater River, Canoe Lake and La Loche communities, but now no one can go there. 
Fly in communities have more protection from the virus whereas those with road access have a bigger problem.  Housing is crowded, often with three generations under one roof so this encourages the spread of disease.  Amanda showed us photos that illustrated the kind of medical assistance that is being given. 
People ask why they can’t just relocate south where they are not so remote, but to them, this is their home.  Many of the elders do not speak English.  True North Aid wants to be able to support them so that they can stay in what has been their home for so countless generations.
For more information, visit  Amanda may be reached at
Questions followed.
Is Covid 19 affecting these communities disproportionately?  The answer is yes.  Health problems make the risk greater, and living conditions cause the spread to be easier.
What happens if someone is so sick, they need to be on a ventilator?  They get sent to Thunder Bay.  Amanda reminded us that it is really third world conditions for many of these people.
How much communication is there between the various communities?  The communities are currently blocking inter-community communication. 
Ron Pols thanked Amanda with a virtual loaf of bread, saying that thinking about these people, the words resilience and pride come to mind.