In spite of pandemic restrictions that have cancelled the fundraising Malawi Breakfast from raising funds for the Ekwendeni Hospital HIV and AIDS program and the Grandmother Support program, community members continue to offer their support.
The breakfast, which has run for more than 25 years out of Knox Presbyterian Church, is the principal fundraiser for the African-based programs. It would have been held the first Sunday in November and has been run by the McKechnie family and a half dozen volunteers, who handle the cooking, serving and clean up. The breakfast is a favourite for many in the community.
“The Malawi breakfast at Knox has been an outstanding fundraiser for the Ekwendeni hospital in Malawi,” said volunteer David Barrie. “When HIV-AIDS ravaged the country it resulted in grandmothers having to raise their families. Living in one of Africa’s poorest country means you have to grow your own food to survive. The money we send provides help to these grandmothers with seed, fertilizer, school fees and sometimes even housing.”
With this event cancelled, the organizers have relied on donations from the public, including birthdays, Christmas and memorial gifts and have found the community continues to be very generous. In 2019, the church donated approximately $10,500 to fund the programs. Barrie said in 2020 “we sent $14,127 to the hospital in Malawi.”
“The pandemic has had a drastic effect on these grandmothers and we know that only five per cent been vaccinated,” said Barrie. “Vaccines continue to be in short supply and they lack the infrastructure to deliver it to the people.”
“We are prepared to have the breakfast again as soon as it is allowed,” said Barrie.
Tammy Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent