Pictured (L-R) are Fred and Bonnie Cappuccino, founders, Child Haven International; Elaine MacDonald, event organizer; and Dr. Nat Shah, director, Child Haven.
CORNWALL, Ontario - Local residents reached out, half way around the world, to help those less fortunate, at the annual Child Haven International Cornwall Jubilee dinner and auction, on Friday night, at the Ramada Inn.
Founded by Fred and Bonnie Cappuccino, in the mid-80s, Child Haven supports nine homes in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Tibet, all funded by contributions made in Canada, through dinners and social events, such as this one.
Originally, the homes received orphaned children or those given up, due to poverty, said Elaine MacDonald, event organizer, who was anticipating raising between 15 and 20 thousand dollars.
“Because of the system, women, especially, have a hard time making a living if she becomes widowed or suffers any kind of social setback,” said MacDonald. “It all started with women being so desperate at not being able to look after their kids, they gave them up to the initial Child Haven homes.”
“Soon they realized that if you take this desperate mother in with the child, you can get a whole system going. So now they have these wonderful communities.”
Among the projects funded by Child Haven throughout the years, including schools and fresh water wells, most recently, local women have been trained to make sanitary napkins - now an operational business - as well as producing soy milk, and the conversion of methane gas from waste, from the homes, to fuel the stoves in the kitchen.
“I think it’s pretty revolutionary. They try to recycle everything.”
Early on in their marriage, explained MacDonald, the Cappuccinos decided that they didn’t want any extra trappings in their lives.
“What you couldn’t carry in a small suitcase wasn’t worth having, she said, “They live that philosophy, and along with that goes the notion of never wasting anything.”
Parents of two biological children, the Cappuccinos, married 61 years, have adopted 19 others - the subject of an upcoming book written by Fred, in honour of his wife. Organizers are hoping to make next year’s event a book launch, as well.
The fundraiser, attended by approximately 100 people, included a silent auction, featuring an eclectic selection goods brought back from overseas, and generous donations from the community, a bazaar, as well as a live auction, officiated by the entertaining and persuasive, Flora Dumouchel.
A fabulous Indian buffet was prepared by Ramada’s resident Chef, Joginder Khalsa, and live music, was provided by Roxanne Delage and Rod Robillard.
To learn more about the cause or to donate, visit www.childhaven.ca.