The second annual Gospel Music Benefit Concert hosted by Hope and Lewis Rowsell on November 10 was another huge success. Over 100 people gathered at the South Brook United Church to listen to 15 local performers from all over the area. They came to help the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and the Christian Center for Reflection and Dialogue in their mission to end hunger in the world.
Donations from the night and those which came in outside of the event have exceeded $2,300.00. The funds raised from this concert will be split between two projects. 50% will go to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank to help eliminate hunger in Africa and 50% will go to The Christian Center for Reflection and Dialogue in Cuba to be used in their ‘Meals on Wheels Program’.
The Meals on Wheels Program in Cuba is a program Hope Rowsell says she participated in while on a mission trip there last November.
“The program had such an impact on me that I wanted to help make sure that it continues,” she said. The program is administered by The Christian Center for Reflection and Dialogue, which is where Rowsell stayed while in Cuba. They prepare over 100 meals per day, 365 days per year, and deliver them to disadvantaged seniors on bicycles.
Rowsell recalls a day she accompanied the Meals on Wheels except she went by horse and buggy instead of by bicycle.
“It was one of the highlights of the trip and also one of the greatest experiences of my life. To witness the gratitude of the people and experience their hospitality was an experience second to none.
“On the one hand it would do your heart good to visit with those wonderful people, listen to their stories, share fellowship with them and experience their thankfulness and appreciation for what little they had which we take so much for granted. On the other hand it was very disturbing and heartbreaking to witness how and where they lived and the little they had.”
The Cuban government does provide some security support to its citizens but it’s very minimal and not near enough to live on. As a result they suffer greatly. Ordinary Cuban people live daily under much hardship with not enough food to eat and not enough money for the basic necessities of everyday life. But, in passing, most times you would never know. They will always greet you with a smile and go the extra mile, Rowsell continued.
“They really appreciate outside help like the money from this concert and they will put it to good use by helping the seniors and children of their community.”
The Canadian Foodgrains Bank is another organization Rowsell has experience with.
“This is the organization we went to Ethiopia with almost two years ago and we were also touched by those beautiful, loving people too and want to continue to help them,” she said.
Last year over $2,200 was raised and 100% of it went to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank for food security in Africa. After seeing the need in Cuba Rowsell said they want to share with them and hence the decision to split this years proceeds 50/50.
In conclusion, Rowsell said she wanted to send a thank you to all the people who came and to all who helped in any way to help make this event a great success.
“The support and generosity was overwhelming. As a result, a lot less people will go to bed hungry in the days ahead and that makes it all worthwhile.”