Farmers Helping Farmers and chef Emily Wells provide masks, soap for students in Kenya

P.E.I. fundraiser contributes $10,000 to protect students from COVID-19 pandemic

More than a thousand students at 21 schools twinned through Farmers Helping Farmers in Kenya are now safer, thanks to the fundraising efforts of Chef Emily Wells. 

Wells raised more than $10,000 in October with her Thanksgiving suppers at The Mill in New Glasgow. 

The fundraising meals in support of Farmers Helping Farmers are an annual event for Chef Emily, but the 2020 total was the best ever.

Now those fundraising dollars are being put to an important purpose at schools in Kenya, providing two reusable masks per student, as well as liquid soap for hand washing stations at the twinned schools. 

“This contribution allows all children to go back to school, and to do so more safely." FHF President, Wendy MacDonald

Right now, only students in grades 4 and 8, and form 4 (the equivalent of Grade 12) are at school, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

That’s around 1,100 students at the 21 schools, so to provide them masks cost about $2,100 Canadian.

Those students received their masks this week, along with instruction from their teachers on how to properly use them. 

Each school also received a 20 litre bucket of liquid soap to be used at hand washing stations, another $275 contribution. 

“I’m delighted that the money is going to masks and soap, I think it’s wonderful,” said Chef Emily Wells.

“We’ve been so blessed here on P.E.I., with so few cases of COVID-19, and we can go anywhere to get a mask or soap. I’m so aware of the accessibility that we have to everything here.”  

"The funds raised by Emily Wells and Islanders have come at a critically important time," said Wendy MacDonald, president of FHF.  

"To open, schools must meet government's COVID measures, but have very limited resources to do so, and students are supposed to provide their own masks at a time when many already struggling families are facing pandemic-related economic hardship.”

FHF staff who delivered the supplies to the schools said students and staff were excited to see the masks and soap.

They said that some staff had been purchasing soap out of their own salaries, to ensure students were able to wash their hands properly while at school. 

"Kenyans' single biggest worry about COVID is its impact on their children's education," said MacDonald. "Surveys in May and August indicated that over 4 out of 5 said they were very worried about this, ranking above fears about loss of income, hunger, or the health of family, friends or self.”

“Helping all students to go back to school safely is enormously important to Kenyan children and their families.”

FHF President, Wendy MacDonald

The plan is for the majority of the students to return to the schools in January 2021.

At that time, there will be masks distributed to the rest of the students at the FHF twinned schools, for a total of 4,773 students.

They will now all have two reusable masks to protect them from COVID-19, thanks to the generosity of Chef Emily Wells and the Islanders who joined her for a meal at The Mill in New Glasgow on the Thanksgiving weekend 2020.

“Every person who dined at Chef Emily's fundraiser funded masks for over 25 students,” MacDonald said.

“We thank all those who attended, all those who donated food and time to the event, and most of all, we thank Chef Emily."

Asante sana. Thank you all. 

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