• John Jantak

Benefit concert to help family in Peru obtain a new house


PHOTO COURTESY BRIGITTE McKINNON

Luis and his parents, shown here on October 19 after learning that a group of dedicated Canadians are raising funds for a home for the family.

A benefit concert will be held to help raise funds to build a new house for an impoverished family in Pucallpa, Peru. The concert will take place at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Hudson on Friday, November 8 and the event is being sponsored by The Journal and Raymond James Ltd.

Robert McKinnon, a co-founder of the Pure Art Foundation in Hudson with his wife Brigitte, said they’re touched by the number of people in Hudson and throughout the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region who have rallied together to support the benefit concert. “I’m very moved by the caring and compassionate people who are pulling this together,” McKinnon told The Journal.

PHOTO COURTESY BRIGITTE McKINNON

The fundraiser concert will greatly improve the current living conditions for Luis and his family.

Helping the citizens of Pucallpa

The McKinnons, along with 58 volunteers from the region and other cities in Canada, were in Pucallpa this spring under the Construct a Structure Today (CAST) banner as part of the Pure Art Foundation’s initiative to build two new houses, paint and clean three new classrooms, and registering 300 children for school.

That’s where McKinnon met a young 24-year-old man suffering from leprosy and 21 other members of his family who are living in a dilapidated house. McKinnon determined the family needed a new house.

Community support inspiring

“We started our not-for-profit foundation about 10 years ago and never imagined how it would get to this point where there is so much collaboration within our community. It’s so inspiring to see the strength and willingness to help people a world away, in this case a bridge to a small town in the Amazon basin,” said McKinnon.

“Now we have 300 children in schools, 17 people who have gone to university, a daycare and a health centre. It’s an area that has been constructed over the years with the help of our community. Of the 30 homes that we now have, this is the ninth home that will be built supported by people in our community,” McKinnon added.

Volunteer Louise Gauthier said she’s proud to be one of the organizers of the fundraising concert. “We’re putting this amazing event together with the help of friends and family who are also volunteering their time. People who won’t be able to attend the concert have already made donations,” said Gauthier.

Father Roland Demers

McKinnon said he’s thrilled Father Roland Demers of Hudson’s St. Thomas Aquinas Church allowed the benefit concert to take place inside his venue.

“I want to extend a big thank you to Father Demers,” said McKinnon. “He’s a pillar in our community. He’s been very kind and gracious to provide a very sacred venue for this event. It couldn’t have happened without him. It’s a privilege to have the event staged at his parish. It’s a wonderful cathedral.”

The Pure Art Foundation is a registered Canadian charity dedicated to empowering the Pucallpa community through the development of health and education programs. For more information about the Pure Art foundation, their CAST initiative in Pucallpa and the upcoming fundraising concert, call 1-800-567-4325 or visit their website at pureartfoundation.org/cause/construct-a-structure-today-2/.

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