After crafting countless pieces of furniture, toys, jewelry boxes and cutting boards for family and friends over the years, local teacher, woodworker and Valley Table contributor John Roccanova was looking for a new way to put his skills to work. He and his wife Jean recognized that most education and community development projects worldwide—especially in Kenya and Haiti—needed support. So, in 2010, the Roccanovas founded Grow Against Poverty, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit aimed at raising money by selling woodcrafts. Sales of their handcrafted cutting boards, serving platters, salad bowls and beer flights have raised more than $54,000 since the project began.
In the Busia district of Kenya, the money raised by Grow Against Poverty supports several projects, including construction of a classroom and computer lab, the startup of a school meal program, and helping families start their own small-scale poultry businesses.
Prices for the handmade boards range from $10 to $150. They will be available at the Irondale Schoolhouse in Millerton (Dutchess County), November 24 and 25 from 9am5pm. For more information, email John Roccanova at email@example.com.