The Rev. David Pritchard
Like many Canadians, the Rev. David Pritchard of Christ Church Cathedral in Whitehorse was deeply disturbed by the horrific images of displaced and starving people in the drought-stricken Horn of Africa in July 2011.
“We had to do something,” recalls Pritchard of his conversation with Bishop Larry Robertson about the famine-plagued refugees of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia.
With support from the Bank of Montreal, the Horn of Africa Famine Relief Project was launched. The target: “A dollar for every Yukoner,” Pritchard says. (A recent census puts the territory’s population at slightly less than 36,000.)
Every Tuesday, the project ran barbecues or soup lunches in Bishop Stringer Park, a parcel of land between the cathedral and the Old Log Church.
For eight weeks, they also set up tables at the farmers’ market displaying photos of the unspeakable conditions in the refugee camps. “We raised funds and we raised awareness,” says Pritchard. “Every time I went into the bank, I saw that more people had been in to donate.”
Local artists donated more than 40 of their works, which were auctioned off. “We were able to send $28,000 to the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund before the deadline for matching funds with federal grants,” he says.
The project raised almost $42,000, exceeding its goal. “We showed that Yukoners are among the most generous people living in this great country,” says Pritchard.