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100 People Who Care PEC presents its first big donation

100 People Who Care PEC founders Mark Davis, Judy Fraser, David Fox and Richard Byers present PELC’s Lori Farrington and Kathy Kennedy with 93 cheques totalling $9,300.

The power of the people produced nearly $10,000 in less than an hour to support adult literacy programs in Prince Edward County.

The new “100 People Who Care PEC” group handed over 93 $100 cheques on Thursday to the Prince Edward Learning Centre – voted by members at their first gathering to receive the windfall.

PELC was nominated by Alice Mennacher at the group’s meeting Oct. 23 at the Waring House. The centre supports adult literacy programs for County residents – the majority under age 30 – to help them finish high school, prepare for college, or apprenticeships. It receives funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development but doesn’t always have funds required for support services programming.

Prince Edward Learning Centre Executive Director Kathy Kennedy said the funding will be used for extra services not covered.

“It will be used for students in terms of experiential learning, extra staff support, extra time and addressing food insecurity issues. The goal is to help adults stay in school. Lots of folks have families so we look at the work we do as a lifting the family up as well,” said Kennedy.

Receiving an envelope filled with cheques was gratifying, said Kennedy, and Lori Farrington, the centre’s classroom instructor and program co-ordinator.

“It’s awesome and I love that it comes from the community,” said Farrington. “It’s a validation from your own community for the work that you’re doing; and for our students to feel like the community is supporting them. They can feel pretty isolated sometimes and now they see that 100 people want to support something they’re involved in.”

100 People Who Care PEC founders Mark Davis, Judy Fraser, David Fox, Richard Byers and Mary Stever volunteered to handle organizational duties when forming the group earlier this year. Davis, Fox and Byers were members of the 100 Men Who Care Quinte group, but due to its extensive coverage area, and random drawing, a County charity is yet to benefit. They thought a PEC-only group would better effect change here.

“This is such a unique organization because there’s not a lot of rules,” said Davis. “There’s no presidents, vice-presidents; we do not touch the money, except to hand it over. This is what makes it fabulous. It is a grassroots kind of thing where it’s people just helping people to make a greater community than it already is.”

Four times a year, each member of the group brings (or sends) a $100 cheque to a meeting and, if they wish, the name of a worthy charity. Following a short time for networking, three candidate charity names are drawn from a hat. The people who put forth the names drawn may speak briefly to the work of their charity of choice. From there, a vote will name the winner of that meeting’s $10,000 (or more, as membership grows).

There were 93 members represented at the first meeting. Pulled from the hat with PELC were the Matt Stever Fund and Festival Players. As recipient, PELC won’t be able to be nominated again for a full year. The names of others nominated at the meeting – the Picton United Church, County Food Bank, Reaching for Rainbows, Hospice and Loyalist Humane Society – remain in the hat.

“What a lot of people liked about it at the first meeting was that it was in, out, and done,” said Byers. “We don’t like to go to meetings that go on and on and never end. They meet, gave a drink, socialize for a few minutes, make a vote and go home. People really like that way that they can contribute and they can touch their community and it’s easy, simple and quick. I think that’s what donors want and why we’re restricted to our own community. We want to help the people we walk by on the street.”

Fraser noted that October’s meeting attracted new members who will be coming to the January meeting putting the group membership at well over the 100 mark and inching to 150.

Mennacher, she said, spoke from the heart and was wonderfully eloquent, though she admitted she wasn’t comfortable with speaking.

Mennacher worked with PELC on a few occasions and got to know the organization and how it helped participants. She has known Farrington for many years and learned that PELC is more than just learning, but also about support to reach goals.

David Fox met Mennacher years ago when he was principal and Athol South Marysburgh School.

“She was a major supporter of education there and sees it as so important, so the Prince Edward Learning Centre resonated with her. That’s what this group is all about.”

Membership to 100 People who Care PEC is open. Members must attend to vote and if unable to attend, must send their cheque along regardless and support the winning charity. Those wanting more information should email or visit the 100 People Who Care PEC Facebook page. The next meeting is Jan. 15 at the Waring Hall.


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