Ottawa’s HERA Mission’s Big Give to Kenya: Eyeglasses, shoes, toothbrushes and sanitary products needed
The Taillon garage in Ottawa is filled with plastic containers and suitcases, brimming with simple, yet life-changing supplies.
Peggy Taillon cannot keep a lid on her gratitude.
"Thank you, Ottawa for always stepping up for HERA Mission we deeply, deeply appreciate you!"
Taillon, and her 15-year-old son, Devlin are already anticipating the greeting they will receive in Kenya, when these cases of donated items are delivered.
"The absolute loudest cheering you could ever hear. Dancing, and singing, and celebration and smiling. They just come running," they enthused in unison.
The Taillon 'mother-son duo' are describing the women and children in the town where Devlin was born.
Peggy Taillon has long had a career in health care and philanthropy. She founded HERA Mission after adopting her son Devlin from Kenya— his adoption changed Kenya’s adoption laws.
Taillon promised she and Devlin would give back and they do.
Through the non-profit organization, HERA Mission of Canada they are dedicated to empowering and improving the lives of the of Asembo Bay (Kenya) community by improving access to education, food security and economic development.
In addition to ongoing fundraising for HERA (which means love in in the tribal language of Luo), each year, Peggy and Devlin bring loads of suitcases of supplies to his birthplace, when he travels there to spend time with his birth family and children of that community.
This year, through the generous donation of a shipping container that ‘give’ can be a very big one.
"Thanks to Abbis Mahmoud, a tremendous entrepreneur and philanthropist of Dreammind, Operation Ramzieh and other endeavours in Canada we have a 40 foot shipping container to fill and ship to Kenya," says Taillon.
Mahmoud is paying for the container and the shipping.
"Having a shipping container makes such a big difference because we were so limited to what we could bring before."
Taillon is now working to fill the container within the next week.
"A number of hospitals, including Bruyère, have stepped up and we have some old medical equipment that is still in great shape. We have some hospital beds. We have all kinds of medical supplies the different clinics have been giving us over the past year-- so we literally have bins filled with those. Everything from gauze and tape and syringes and saline,” says a grateful Taillon. Taillon is on the senior leadership team at Bruyère.
With loads of room in that container, Peggy and Devlin are hoping that simple items not being used in drawers and cupboards of your home can be shipped to Kenya and put to good use there.
There is always a need for simple toiletries, toothbrushes, toothpaste, clean clothes, and new shoes.
"One of the things that we take for granted that is so shocking to me — and hygiene products are basically a luxury. So usually, when our girls have their period they are staying home from school because they do not have feminine hygiene products. The more that we can get of these the better," Taillon said.
"Another luxury is toothpaste and toothbrushes. Oral hygiene is so important to your overall health so we are so grateful for these donations.”
If you have old eyeglasses kicking around, there is a great need for those.
Peggy and Devlin haven’t been back to Kenya since before the pandemic. This trip, along with this special delivery, will mean a great deal to both.
"It’s very emotional for sure I haven’t seen my family and my brother and my little sister for a while," says Devlin.
"It’ll be good to be in the village to see the kids and to surprise them with all of the gifts."
HERA Mission is also very appreciative of monetary donations.
"Canadian currency can go a long way on the ground there with the Kenyan exchange rate," explains Taillon. "Your give is amplified."
HERA Mission Big Ottawa Give Wish List:
- Medical supplies
- Feminine hygiene products
- Gently used tablets, laptops and phones
- Gently used clothing and shoes of all sizes (no holes)
- Toys (without batteries)
- School supplies, toiletries, soap, tooth paste/brushes, lotion, feminine hygiene products, deodorant (we would appreciate if these items were in boxes, suitcases, bins)
- Eyeglasses for all ages and sizes.
- Sporting equipment soccer balls, basketballs, nets, backboards.