Sales from "Clean Your Plate & Kiss the Cook" Help Fund 2 Water Wells in Tanzania
In 2013 Harriet Hillesland published Clean Your Plate and Kiss the Cook, a cookbook comprised of years of recipes that her four children had all been eager for her to write down. Three years later, with 420 copies sold, the proceeds, along with donations for her cause, have funded two water wells in Tanzania Africa.
Harriet became involved with "Clean Water for the World" through the Pella Lutheran Church. She explained that all of the profits went towards the project along with donations that she received from people who found out about the cause. In fact, from June through September, a local business matches all funds raised.
Each of the $5,000 wells serve a community of people who wouldn't otherwise have access to clean water, and living with a limited water supply is something that Harriet can empathize with. She explained that during the drought of the 1930s, some of their neighbors' wells had dried up and that they would come to her childhood home every day during the height of summer so that she could pump water from her family's well to send with them.
"We were fortunate because our well hadn't dried up and my family's land was near a lake, so our livestock could drink from that water, but our neighbors had to haul water for themselves and their animals," she explained. "Some of the people in Africa walk for five miles to get to a well and it could be dried up; I just couldn't imagine how disappointing that would be. Other families in Africa have to get their water from polluted rivers and get very sick, and even die from it."
It's a worthy cause that many of Harriet's friends and family have gotten behind, including CBS News Correspondent and family friend Barry Petersen. When visiting her and her husband one afternoon, Petersen picked up a cook book and listened as Harriet explained how the money was used. At that time, she was about $800 short of funding her second well, and hoping to make $400 of that before summer's end so it could be matched. There upon, Peterson handed her $400 dollars to meet the goal.
"I couldn't believe it," she said, "but that's how we got the last of what we needed for the second well."
Most of Harriet's recipes have come from her own ingenuity. While there weren't many things that didn't go over well around the family dinner table, there were a few here and there including tomato bread.
"My husband and the kids didn't like it, but the birds sure did!" she recalls.
Harriet is thankful to her family for helping her put the cookbook together, as well as those who have contributed to "Clean Water for the World" through their donations and purchases of Clean Your Plate and Kiss the Cook.