The True Spirit of 4-H: The Jenkins’ Story of Generosity

Submitted by: Maureen, Dave & Evan Jenkins

On January 25, 2017 we received a phone message from Mackenzie Wright of the Essex 4-H Dairy Calf Club, asking if we could attend the Kent-Essex Holstein Club Family night on February 18th in Woodslee. They had a donation that they wanted to give us for Childhood Cancer research. This call was “out of the blue”, totally unexpected and once we connected with Mackenzie and attended the event, was even more touching.

Each year, the leaders of the Essex 4-H Dairy Calf club have their members select a charity to receive half of the money that the club raises during the year. At a club meeting, one of the members happened to see our Haldrey Farms advertisement in the December 2016 Holstein Journal, where we mentioned that we work on a nation-wide program and campaign in support of Childhood Cancer Awareness, targeting all government legislators in Canada. This campaign is called “The Maggie Project”, in memory of our daughter, Maggie who was a keen Elgin dairy 4-H member. The Essex 4-H club felt that our campaign would be a perfect place for their donation.

We went to the Family night, and were able to talk to everyone about Childcan, which is an organization that assists families in Southwestern Ontario that have children undergoing cancer treatments. One of their new projects is the Novel Therapeutics program, which allows children to be part of new research trials based in London at Children’s Hospital (rather than in Toronto at Sick Kids). We asked if we could direct their donation to that cause, and everyone readily agreed.

But the 4-Hers also inspired others at the banquet. Their initial donation of $400 grew to $910 through a live auction of a 4-H sweatshirt and a few other items that the Holstein Club generously donated, plus personal donations from fellow Holstein breeders. And a week later, we received another donation from the Essex-Kent Milk Committee (many of whom would have been at the family night).

With the generosity of these 4-Hers and others, we were happy to report to Mackenzie that a full-time research assistant was funded by Childcan for the program. Maureen now sits on the Board of Directors for Childcan, and can attest to the power of each and every donation (no matter what size) to this organization. Unfortunately, the need grows as more children are diagnosed, and others who have undergone long and painful treatments now find their cancers have returned.

All of us involved in Ontario 4-H can be proud of members like the ones in the Essex 4-H Dairy Calf Club.