Goodman does good
Wakefielder raising money, donations for First Nations communities
Spending this past summer travelling with Wapikoni Mobile, Wakefielder Mathieu Germain Goodman had the opportunity to connect with Indigenous communities for the first time in his life, inspiring him to find a way to help.
With each community Goodman visited with the travelling studio, which screens First Nations films and documentaries, he was able to reconnect with his own Montagnais heritage and see first hand the challenges facing those communities, especially single mothers. As the summer was wrapping up, Goodman knew he needed to find a way to help.
“I kept talking about it for the past two weeks,” Goodman told this reporter, seated on what little room was left on ‘Mama Gen’ Audrey’s front porch after the latest delivery of toiletries and diapers had been unloaded at his Hull drop-off location. Audrey is the former owner of Mama Gen’s Pizzeria in Wakefield, where Goodman used to work, and she will be accompanying him on his drive up to Wemotaci.
“My girlfriend told me I sounded like a broken record and that I should just do it, '' Goodman explained. “The next morning I decided to do the [Facebook] post, and from there people started reaching out with donations and told me to start a GoFundMe.”
When Goodman made his original post on Sept. 12, the plan was to ask for donations of toiletries, feminine hygiene products, clothes, toys, and non-perishable food items, and hopefully some cash donations, which would be put towards the rental of a U-Haul and the gas to transport the items.
Less than a week later, Goodman had secured enough money for a round trip, raised an additional $850 on GoFundMe, and had begun filling the living rooms of three different homes with donations.
“I was tired of seeing people on Facebook saying how sorry they felt and not doing anything,” Goodman said. He added that it particularly frustrated him seeing the outpouring of anger and sadness from non-Indigenous communities after the revelation of the unmarked graves at residential schools across the country, and then seeing those same people buying orange shirts at Giant Tiger.
His first trip will take the donated goods to the Wemotaci community in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region of the province, and plans to drive the donated goods there himself on Sept. 29. Goodman has also already begun making plans for more trips between now and late November, as well as sponsoring single mothers in Barrier Lake, Maniwaki, and other surrounding First Nation communities.
"I'm just looking to help single mothers who may have been struggling during the pandemic,” Goodman said. “I know how far a little help can go.”
Beyond that, he also hopes to use the trips as the foundation for his own Indigenous production company, Kokom Donations, allowing him to reach out to the artists he met this past summer and help share their stories. Goodman said Audrey will be one of his main videographers in the new production company.
“Throughout the trip, I met so many people who are phenomenal but just isolated,” Goodman said. “I really want any Indigenous youth out there, that want to help … [to] reach out to me and I'll show them.”
Goodman will be accepting donations for his trip to Wemotaci until Sept. 28, and has three drop off locations in Hull, Wakefield, and Chelsea. For more information on where you can drop off a donation, you can Facebook-message Michele Prevost-Lance in Chelsea; Elizabeth Logue in Wakefield, or Gen Audrey in Hull. If you would like to make a cash donation, you can visit Goodman’s GoFundMe.