Tuesday, May 4, 2010

City Children Donate Funds for Solar Cookers

April 28, 2010 Children enrolled in the city’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities After School Program raised $2,004.27 that they donated at City Hall April 28 for the purchase of solar cookers for women in South Africa.

Each year, children in the program raise money in a variety of ways to help other children and families who are not as fortunate as they are. This year they held penny drives; sold cookies, ice cream, popcorn, funnel cakes, and day planners; collected coins in coin jars; asked for donations that equal their height; and did a variety of other things to raise money.

The department offers the After School Program at 21 elementary school sites throughout the city, and approximately 500 children are enrolled. The children in the After School Program at Clark Springs Elementary School raised the most money this year and came to City Hall to make the donation.

A child in the program presented a large pink piggy bank, one of five stuffed with fake money to represent their donation, to Dr. Carolyn Graham, the city’s deputy chief administrative officer for human services, on the steps of City Hall.

“We think it’s important to recognize these children for their efforts. This program teaches them the importance of helping others, and we hope it instills in them a sense of community spirit and volunteerism,” said Dr. Graham.

Dr. Graham in turn presented the piggy bank to Rabbi Ben Romer of Richmond’s Congregation Or Ami. He was there representing the Solar Cooker Project, which the children chose as the recipient of the efforts.

The Solar Cooker Project helps women in refugee camps care for their families, which usually include not only their own children but several orphans as well. The solar cookers also provide the women with a means of producing an income, and, of course, they benefit the environment as well. Just two solar cookers lower the need for firewood and reduce greenhouse gasses by more than 3,814 pounds a year.

You can learn more about the Solar Cooker Project online at www.SolarCookerProject.org.

This is the third year that children enrolled in the department’s After School Program have raised funds to help less fortunate children and families. Previously, their efforts have funded honey bees and hives to help provide an income for needy families through Heifer International and provided a water pump for the village of Ha Pokane, South Africa, through PlayPumps International.