Islanders Give a Gift With Meaning

MacDougall water tank in Kenya

Greg MacDougall was looking for something different to give his parents last Christmas.  He saw the Farmers Helping Farmers Holiday Campaign flyer on Facebook and decided a water tank would be perfect.

“People are given so many things they'll never use at Christmas,” explains MacDougall. “This was something meaningful.”

MacDougall’s girlfriend, Lydia MacKay, traveled to Kenya as part of her teacher training at UPEI – and so MacDougall was familiar with the work of Farmers Helping Farmers.  He and his family were particularly moved when they received a photo of the water tank with Wayne and Barb MacDougall’s names on it.  Also in the photo were Angelica Kalayu and her children, the proud new owners of this heartfelt holiday gift.

“We realized this Christmas gift changed the lives of a Kenyan family,” says MacDougall.  He posted a photo of his family’s water tank on Facebook –and instantly heard from friends wondering how they could make a similar gift.

Christine and Dannie MacKinnon have taken part in the Farmers Helping Farmers Holiday Campaign since it started. Along with their son, they run a family dairy farm in Brooklyn.

“We make choices every day to buy local,” explains Christine MacKinnon. “It’s funny to think of Farmers Helping Farmers as a local group since their work is international, but we do feel a connection.”

MacKinnon says she and her family are happy to see the choice of a water tank as one of the Holiday Campaign donations.

“I like that Farmers Helping Farmers is helping people make a better life for their family,” says MacKinnon. “And the impact is almost immediate.”

Farmers Helping Farmers is hoping more Prince Edward Islanders than everwill –like the MacDougalls and the MacKinnons - choose to give a gift with meaning this holiday season.

The P.E.I.-based group is celebrating 35 years working with partners in Kenya.  One of the group’s biggest fundraisers of the year is the holiday campaign.

As part of the 35th anniversary celebrations, Farmers Helping Farmers has been raising funds to purchase solar lights for families in Kenya.  The campaign is called "Lights for Kenya 2015".  Solar-powered lights have many benefits. The solar lamps allow the students to do homework at night. It gets dark in Kenya by 6:30 year round. Solar lights are safer than the candles or kerosene lamps that Kenyan families use now.  The solar lights also have the capacity to charge cell phones – which are used by many rural Kenyans to do their banking.

The Sunday School at Hillcrest United Church in Montague is also taking part in this year’s holiday campaign. They hope to raise enough money for 38 solar lights –one for each child in standard 8, the Canadian equivalent of Grade 8.  Through Farmers Helping Farmers, the Sunday School has been sending letters back and forth to Kenya for 4 years.   Now the P.E.I. students hope to “light up” the lives of their pen pals at Mweru Primary.

“The relationships built with these letters has been special for both students and congregation,” says Melissa Mullen, the Twinning Project Coordinator. “They've given us a vested interest in the success of the students at Mweru Primary.”

Purchasing a solar light is just one of ten options available through the Farmers Helping Farmers Holiday Campaign. There are options of all sizes –starting at $10 for a mosquito net to go over a bed that protects a child to prevent malaria.  New this year is a $20 option for a pitchfork – to help farmers to make better compost.  Milk for ten school children for a month is $30, a set of school books is $100, a water tank is $300 and a dairy cow for a family is $500.  Donors can even establish a vegetable garden for an entire school for $1,000. Every donation is welcome and will make a difference.

Farmers Helping Farmers offers gift cards, and donors are encouraged to contribute in the name of family, friends or clients.  And there are also tax receipts for all donations.  The group asks that you make your contribution by December 15th if you would like a gift card.  To find out more, please visit: www.

Farmers Helping Farmers says “asante sana” or “thank you very much” to Prince Edward Islanders for their generous support over the last 35 years.

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