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Pugwash cook wants to provide modern-tech to cooks in Haiti


Joanne Cottrill provides lunch program for 180 elementary school kids in Haiti

PUGWASH – Joanne Cottrill is the cook at the Pugwash District High School cafeteria. She doesn’t cook meals over an open fire.

Cottrill is a friend of two cooks at an elementary school in Cazale, Haiti.

They do cook their meals over an open fire.

Cottrill hopes to change that.

“They say it would be a big help if they had a propane stove and, also, it’s more environmentally friendly than burning wood,” said Cottrill.

Contrill raises $1,800 a month for a lunch program for 180 students who attend an elementary school in Cazale called ‘Repairer of the Breaches.’

Cottrill grew up in Wallace Bay and has been a cook at PDHS for six years.

She first traveled to Haiti in 2010 following the earthquake that left much of the country in ruins.

“The country has been rebuilt from the earthquake but poverty was there before the earthquake, and it’s still there. There are no jobs in Haiti.”

Cottrill volunteered at an orphanage during her first visit and witnessed extreme malnutrition.

Upon her return, home she raised money for a nutrition supplement called Vita Mamba for elementary school kids in Cazale. The supplement is produced in Haiti.

“It has the kids’ daily vitamin mineral dose, and it also gives them nine grams of protein.”

She has visited Haiti every year since 2011 and it was during one of those early visits she decided the kids needed more nutrition.

“I visited the school the next year and the kids weren’t looking that great, so I started a lunch program there and the kids got beans and rice every day,” said Cottrill.

In September of 2016, a trusted friend started a new school in Cazale, Repairer of the Breaches, and funds raised go there.

There are currently 180 kids at the school, and next year there will be an additional 20 students.

“It’s three years of kindergarten, from ages three to five, and the school goes up to Grade 5. It will continue to build every year,” said Cottrill.

She raised $1,800 Canadian a month for the lunch program.

“It’s converted to American funds, so, depending on the exchange rate, they could get anywhere between $1,300 and $1,400 out of that,” said Cottrill.

That money pays for the food, the cooks, wood for their fire, and utensils for the cooks and the kids.

She is now looking to raise money above and beyond the $1,800 so she can buy the school a propane stove for cooking.

The cost of a three-burner stove is $400, and the stove needs two propane tanks, each costing $150. Also, the two tanks cost $100 to fill each month.

The initial cost of a propane stove with two propane tanks filled with fuel is about $800 in American funds. The stove, tanks and fuel will be purchased in Haiti.

Cottrill has held fundraiser dinners and often sells baked goods to raise money, but her biggest source of funds comes through bottle donations.

“This village is amazing how they support me with bottles,” said Cottrill. “Last year I raised $6,770.10 with bottles. That’s a lot of bottles.”

People take bottles to her home or to the botte depot where she has an account. Also, in the summertime she goes door-to-door at the local cottages collecting bottles.

The Northumberland Links golf course and the Fox Harb’r Resort also provides bottles.

“People have been really, really good,” said Cottrill.

She has been a registered with a charitable organization since August.

“All my money that I make now goes directly to MSC Canada,” said Cottrill. “It’s really there project now but I administer the project.”

People can donate online at msccanada.org.

They can then go to 'projects.' Under ‘projects’ is ‘description.’ The third project on the description list is Repairer of the Breaches (Haiti). From there they can follow the links to make a donation.

“Donations can be made online by cheque or a monthly donation,” said Cottrill. “They send you a form to fill out for monthly withdrawals.”

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