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Chesapeake man awarded grant to help his home village in Kenya

Arise Africa pic 1.jpg
Posted at 3:13 PM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 17:50:30-05

CHESAPEAKE, Va. – A Chesapeake man who came here 12 years ago has just received a grant to help poor children in his home village in Kenya.

Simple John Kimani is a caregiver who decided to take on a second job during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the evenings, he is a delivery driver with Grubhub. He’s using the money he earns to send back to children in his Kenyan village.

“Every money that I make from Grubhub, I send it back to the kids to help them out,” stated Kimani.

But then something happened that made an even bigger difference: Grubhub announced a grant program for its drivers. To be considered, applicants were asked to create a short video or write an essay explaining how they’ve made a positive impact in their community and how driving with Grubhub fits into their mission.

Kimani applied and was granted $10,000.

“$10,000 is a lot of money. And when I saw that, I just started figuring out how much it could change the little children that I mentor and help,” Kimani exclaimed.

His mentoring program, called Arise Africa, helps more than 100 children. Kimani says without the proper supplies, children may drop out and never return.

“One pencil can be shared among three kids,” stated Kimani. “And actually, if you don’t have school supplies, you’re sent home and some of them never come back and some of the never come back to school, so they end up dropping out.”

Rise Church on Cedar Road in Chesapeake has also helped with this mission.

“My heart just went out at that moment,” described Pastor Tim Campbell as he looked through photos of the Kenyan village. “Then he began telling me the children didn’t have any chairs. They were literally sitting on the dirt floor all day long, but they had a hunger to learn.”

Members of Rise Church raised money to buy chairs and other supplies, including uniforms.

“There was this one beautiful young lady. She was maybe five or six years old at the time, and it was her first pair of shoes she had ever received in her life,” explained Pastor Campbell. “It was the first time she ever wore shoes, and they were her shoes, brand new shoes.”

As Kimani continues to drive with Grubhub, he wants customers to know they’re helping to support his mission.

Related: Va. Beach woman running 40 hours straight to raise money for orphanage

“Every meal I deliver is not just a meal, but it means a shoe. It means school supplies, and it means a school far away in Africa. So, thanks Grubhub and all the diners who order their food through Grubhub,” Kimani said.

“It was absolutely inspiring to see the many responses and countless examples of valuable work from our drivers across the country. We’re proud that this program will be a stepping stone for drivers who are making positive change within their communities,” said Eric Ferguson, Grubhub’s chief operations officer. “We’re looking forward to seeing all the great things drivers do with these grants and continuing our efforts this year to fund what fuels our drivers.”