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Photo of supplies donated to the Rural Youth Development Organization-Sierra Leone (RYDO-SL) to help combat Ebola virus infection. The supplies were donated by LemonAid Fund, a charitable organization founded by Western Illinois University alumna Nancy Peddle.
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Supplies, donated by WIU alumna Nancy Peddle's LemonAid Fund charitable organization, being distributed to individuals living in Sierra Leone. The supplies are used to help with Ebola virus-infection prevention efforts.

"Sierra Leone has approximately five new cases [of individuals infected with the Ebola virus] a day. According to the World Health Organization, as of October 8, the total confirmed cases of those tested are 2,028. There are 30-day quarantines in many areas, cancelled national tests and schools, limited hours of work and skyrocketing prices of everything from food to the materials that help protect people from infection," Peddle said.

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Alumna's Charitable Fund Providing Assistance to Ebola-Impacted Sierra Leone

October 20, 2014


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MACOMB, IL – A charitable organization founded by a Western Illinois University alumna in 1999 to help the people of Sierra Leone, Africa, is now helping to provide supplies for those affected by the Ebola virus there.

Nancy Peddle, who earned a Kaskaskia degree in 1978 from Western and is now an international psychology dissertation affiliate faculty member for the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, said she began LemonAid Fund after experiencing the effects of violence there.

"In 1996, I was working in the war-torn country and witnessed the truly devastating effects of Sierra Leone's Bloody Coup. As I was being evacuated, I decided I wanted to do something for the people who didn't have the option of leaving the violence. I saw that with just a little support, people's lives, which had been devastated by the war, could be positively affected," she explained. "Everyone who works for LemonAid Fund is a volunteer, including me. We have a working board of five people, one of whom is WIU School of Agriculture Professor Mari Loehrlein, and typically, we have between five and 30 volunteers. Specifically for LemonAid Fund's Ebola crisis strategy, we have raised $13,000 and distributed $15,000 from our general funds. We hope to at least double that before the end of 2014," she added.

Peddle, who earned her master's degrees at Bank Street College and Fielding Graduate Institute and her doctorate from Fielding Graduate Institute and who serves as an international consultant for UNICEF, noted her customized bachelor's degree at Western was ideal preparation for establishing an organization like LemonAid Fund.

"With that Kaskaskia degree, I was able to put together social work, psychology, political science and law enforcement. Because of this broad base of understanding humans from multiple perspectives, I have been able to work both locally and internationally, and I have been able to meet the many challenges and opportunities along my divergent life path," she said.

Peddle noted, recently, people in Sierra Leone have experienced a countrywide lock down, with another one planned, due to the Ebola virus epidemic.

"Sierra Leone has approximately five new cases a day. According to the World Health Organization, as of October 8, the total confirmed cases of those tested are 2,028. There are 30-day quarantines in many areas, cancelled national tests and schools, limited hours of work and skyrocketing prices of everything from food to the materials that help protect people from infection," she said. "LemonAid Fund works with a network of schools and organizations throughout Sierra Leone who, in turn, have communities in which they work."

According to Peddle, 100 percent of the donations to LemonAid Fund for the Ebola crisis strategy have gone toward buying and distributing emergency food and clean water; hand-washing supplies and cleaning materials, such as soap, disinfectants; water buckets that have taps on them to allow for running water; and small stipends to more than 200 LemonAid Fund teachers, staff, scholarship families and their constituencies.

"For instance, one orphan student received his allotment that he brought back to his foster care home to benefit 15 other orphans and the parents," she noted. "In addition, through the LemonAid Fund, we are educating 100 communities about how Ebola spreads and how to address this growing epidemic, with limited services and resources available in their communities. Some of the messages may include how to use plastic bags as barriers, wearing long-sleeve shirts when out, how look for signs of Ebola, how find new ways to respect those who have died (instead of going to funerals and washing dead bodies) and to better implement sanitation protocols."

She added, via the fund, they hope to buy and distribute: 1,000 thermometers (200 purchased so far); more hand-washing materials and disinfectants to distribute to more than 100 local schools, organizations, communities and food markets; and food and small amount of financial support to families who have lost a wage-earning member to Ebola, with the focus specifically on health-care workers.

"We also have a plan to fund the teachers in the development of at-home school exercises, as it's looking like schools will remain closed until 2015. In addition, we would like to develop and disseminate TV and radio programs to raise awareness and reduce stress through LemonAid Fund's evidence-based forgiveness, appreciation and gratitude practices," she explained. "We work specifically through our project director, Francess Browne, who is currently the acting country director for LemonAid Fund in Sierra Leone and owner of Dele Preparatory School and Dele Peddle International High School (Allentown). She ensures the money and activities are accounted for through reports, pictures and signed documents."

To support LemonAid fund, visit www.lemonaidfund.org and click on the "Support" tab. For more information, contact Peddle at (312) 714-9370 or via email at nancyped@earthlink.net. Follow LemonAid Fund on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LemonAidFund.

Posted By: Teresa Koltzenburg (WIUNews@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations