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In Memoriam: Gary Mitchell, Purdys’ Head Chocolatier
By Peter Higgins
10/31/2016 5:41:00 PM  

In Memoriam: Gary Mitchell

It is with great sadness we announce the passing of our head chocolatier Gary Mitchell.

Gary was such a positive force in the lives of so many, not just at Purdys, but for his family, friends and everyone who had the pleasure of meeting him even briefly.

He had been battling cancer for the past few years but he never lost his spark or his joy for life.

He was a cornerstone of Purdys history and a big part of the Purdys family and our wider community.

Gary invented the Himalayan Pink Salt Caramel, award-winning Goat Cheese & Chardonnay Truffle and countless other favourites. I know his incredible passion for everything he did will always come through in the chocolates and the recipes he created. But above all, Gary’s warmth and kindness are the things that most stood out about him.

Gary was and will continue to be our inspiration, and we will miss him greatly as both a true friend and colleague.

—Peter Higgins, President & Chocolate Scientist

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Sayoubakro Primary School Expansion in Côte d’Ivoire
By Peter Higgins
6/11/2016 8:50:00 AM  

A few months back, one of our shop managers in Ontario reached out to me with a great idea.

She wondered if we could buy books and send them to children in our cocoa farming communities. What a phenomenal idea!

I contacted Cocoa Horizons (one of our Sustainable Cocoa partners on the ground) and they suggested the Sayoubakro Primary School in Sassandra, southern Côte d’Ivoire. The school had recently expanded its classroom capacity, and 1 of the 3 new classrooms had space for a library—which made the school the best place to begin our library initiatives. Sayoubakro is also one of the first schools we helped fund through Purdys’ Sustainable Cocoa Program.

The school needed $2500 to purchase government-recommended books, build shelving and cupboards to house the books, and also set up a paper cataloging system.

Our teams in the shops, factory kitchen and support office worked very hard on employee-led fundraising events to raise the money: bake sales, barbecues, bottles drives…it’s a long and very amazing list!

In the end, we not only met our goal of $2500 but exceeded it by $1000 for a grand total of $3500.

The money raised went towards the purchase of books and didactic materials (i.e. teaching materials designed to instruct and educate) and built-in shelving units. The school has also set up onsite reading sessions which occur every Wednesday as well as a new loaning system which is monitored by one of the school’s teachers.

To me, this really goes to show that no matter who or where we are, we can come together and make a huge difference to someone. I couldn’t be prouder of everyone at Purdys who made the library at Sayoubakro possible.

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Categories: Sustainable Cocoa, Awesome Initiatives
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