Inverness group helping Kenyan kids

Inverness County Cares hosts pizza sale Sunday

Christian Roach
Published on August 4, 2017

Volunteers, left to right, Karen Wager, Patsy Wayling and Bonnie Boulton prep pizzas at last year’s Inverness County Cares annual pizza sale.

©Submitted photo/Inverness County Cares

PORT HOOD, N.S. – This weekend a local charity will be selling more than 300 pizzas to help a school in Kenya.

On Sunday, Inverness County Cares will host its fourth annual pizza sale in Port Hood with proceeds going to St. Charles Lwanga Secondary School in Nairobi, Kenya.

The school was started in 2012 by Brother John Kennedy Oronjo, a member of the St. Charles Lwanga Brothers of Kenya. The group is comprised of religious brothers, dedicated to the care of youth, traditionally through education.

In 2012, Oronjo became acquainted with John MacInnis, a member of the Inverness County Cares organization.

“I threw the idea out to the group that we could donate $500 a month to the school because that’s what Brother Kennedy said could feed the 100 or so students attending for a month and they all agreed,” said MacInnis.

Six months later, two members of the Inverness group travelled to Nairobi to visit the school and learned they lacked basic amenities like water so the monthly donation was raised to $800.

In 2015, Inverness County Cares entered into a three-year deal with the charity, Chalice Canada in Bedford. The partnership enabled the Inverness group to increase its contribution to the school to $60,000 a year with a matching $60,000 a year from Chalice.

The goal was to have the school become self-sufficient and sustainable, explained John Gillies, a retired teacher and member of Inverness County Cares.

Having St. Charles Lwanga Secondary School navigate its own finances and give the now, 280 students what they need, has been important to both Inverness County Cares and Chalice.

“We worked out a partnership deal with (Chalice) whereby $120,000 per year is sent to the school, only after a detailed budget is worked out so that we know exactly where the money is going,” said Gillies.

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To raise the $60,000, the Inverness group enlists businesses, people from the community and across Canada to donate what they can.

The group’s largest fundraiser is its annual pizza sale, which accounts for roughly 10 per cent of its charitable earnings.

The pizza sale is a huge undertaking that requires dozens of volunteers, organization and countless hours of preparation.

Colleen MacDonald, a member of Inverness County Cares who helps organize the pizza sale, said it isn’t an easy task.

“About three weeks ago we went over to the Clove Hitch restaurant … and made 317 crusts and froze them, so they’re ready to go,” said MacDonald.

On pizza day, dozens of volunteers will help produce more than 300 pizzas. In the morning the choppers and graters prepare the cheese and toppings and a production line to top the pizzas is formed. The pies are cooked in an outdoor wood-fired oven.

“It’s a very positive and good feeling to know that people here in Inverness County are able to think globally but act locally in terms of improving lives of these children in a distant land,” said Gillies.

The pizza sale happens on Sunday beginning at 10 a.m. at 209 Main St., Port Hood and continues until the last pizza is sold.

For more information on the sale and the children of St. Charles Lwanga Secondary School, visit or