© Ashley Thompson
Neil and Darlene Pryde, owners of Bella Roma, are trying to raise enough money for a new water well to be drilled somewhere in Africa through World Vision.
A local restaurateur is doing his part to combat hunger.
Neil Pryde, owner of the Bella Roma pizzerias in Windsor and Brooklyn, is fundraising to have a water well drilled in Africa through World Vision.
It's a feat he's started on his own, but one that cannot be accomplished without the backing of the community.
“You just can't save any money today. Business costs have doubled in the last 10 years,” Pryde said.
Pryde's fundraiser, dubbed Bella Water (beautiful water), must bring in $15,000 for the well to be drilled. He hopes this goal can be achieved by the end of the year but, if it's not, he'll keep canvassing for donations.
“I won't quit,” he said.
Pryde has a genuine understanding of the plights faced by the people he wants to help. He's written letters for Amnesty International, worked with Greenpeace and travelled extensively.
He's come face-to-face with displaced families forced to leave their drought-stricken homeland. He's witnessed the conflict hunger can cause firsthand. And, he says, he's contributed to the problem.
In fact, we all have.
“I believe that it is our fossil fuel burning, western lifestyle that is creating deserts around the world and rendering people unable to feed themselves,” said Pryde.
“I believe that it is our fossil fuel burning, western lifestyle that is creating deserts around the world and rendering people unable to feed themselves." Neil Pryde
Pryde says drilling a well is a long-term solution that will benefit the host community for years to come.
“We're treating the symptom: send them food, they're hungry. We're not treating the cause: they can't feed themselves,” he said.
“If you don't have water you can't grow anything to eat.”
The slogan at Bella Roma is Keep the Peace... Feed the People.
“Something I came to believe as I travelled was there would be a lot less fighting if there were less hungry people.”
Pryde says local businesses that donate $500 toward the Bella Water cause will receive advertising space on the message boards at Bella Roma for one week and their business cards will also be stapled to the outgoing pizza boxes for the same period of time.
Individuals wishing to support the fundraiser can drop donations off at the Bella Roma locations in Windsor and Brooklyn, where “I drilled a well in Africa” t-shirts will be available for purchase. Donations made be made online by visiting https://my.worldvision.ca/mwv/Forms/MwvViewFundraiser.aspx?fundraiserId=432.