Making a difference in the season of giving

The Kopila Valley School is an educational and community hub in Surkhet, Nepal – a region with 80% unemployment, very high dropout rates, chronic childhood malnutrition, and limited female participation in education and civil society. A loan through Kiva has enabled the school to install a solar energy system which will have positive environmental, social, and economic outcomes for the school and region.

Foodsmiths, Perth Ontario - At this time of year, when we have the opportunity to pause and appreciate the true meaning of the season, to help others in the spirit of giving, there is a case to be made for offering not just a charitable hand out but a steadying hand up.

Earlier this year, Foodsmiths was honoured to win the CHFA Sustainability Award. CHFA (Canadian Health Food Association) is Canada's largest trade association dedicated to natural health and organic products. This award recognizes companies that demonstrate exceptional sustainability leadership qualities, and have developed a culture of sustainability that has made an impact on the environment, community, and the winning company's employees.
The award included a $250 sustainability donation from the Spiral Table, a sustainability firm. Don and Claire Smith, owners of Foodsmiths, decided to embrace the sustainability spirit of the award, and used the money to help an organization called Kiva ( As Don points out, "Kiva is the epitome of sustainability in the lives of thousands of impoverished people on our planet trying to get ahead. The organization facilitates and monitors micro-loans to applicants to help them establish a business to try to make a change to a more sustainable livelihood."
The borrower eventually pays back the loan, and the lender is able to re-loan the money to continue the cycle of giving a step up to someone trying to help themselves.
Splitting the award between two worthy initiatives through Kiva, $125 of the award money went to help the Kopila Valley Children's School in Surkhet, Nepal pay for solar equipment that will provide reliable energy to the school.
The other $125 of award money went to the Jinja College School in Uganda to purchase a UV water filtration system to provide clean drinking water for students.
"The prize from the Sustainability Award that we won will be used over and over again for sustainable projects for the less fortunate in our world" says Don. "We can literally help hundreds of people with a relatively modest investment and add a little more each time to enable Kiva to continue their amazing programs. We’re proud, honoured, and thankful to have this donation made on Foodsmiths behalf."

1 comment

  • Tara

    Don and Claire, kudos and congratulations! Thank you for leading the way. I love your leadership, you store, your staff and your products.

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