BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Peace One Day Sunday featured families and music spilling out of a small beignet shop off Highland Road near Perkins.
Rue Beignet's owner Dr. Unkyoung Kim is a violinist with a passion for helping others. She asked her musician friends to make this Sunday special with live music performances from 9am to 7pm at the shop.
Kim had been a young violinist, when she actually met Jeremy Gilley, the British actor who founded the Peace One Day movement.
"I lived in Germany 17 years and over 14 years I studied music," says Kim. "At that time I knew Jeremy Gillette. I knew how he was fighting with the United Nations. He was trying to get the International Day established. At that time I was busy, because I was a student, but I got my doctorate studying and I moved to Baton Rouge. I met Cheri McDaniel in 2010, when I moved to Baton Rouge. Later, we started Peace One Day with our Rotary Club that Methodist Church downtown church and it's been already five years that we have celebrated it."
Capital City Rotary had known member Daran Rehmeyer when he and his wife Teresa sold their business in 2005 and moved with their children to Swaziland. He carried with him his Rotarian membership as they began helping the most rural areas to find medical care for children. They began their work with simply a van to carry as many people as possible. They would truck them to a free medical care facility as many times a week as necessary.
As they were able, they grew the mission, included more patients...the caregivers...then entire families. Now all who need the ride to healthcare.
Dr. Kim wanted to raise money to sponsor nurses for the Rehmeyer's cause.
"In their case, a nurse's salary for one month is $180 dollars per month and they have a budget problem if one nurse can't work, 50 kids could die. So I'm trying to help them," says Kim.
She volunteered to give a cut of her shop's entire take for the day of sales, delicious beignets and drinks of various kinds.
Tyrone Howard stands at a table to take a bow as Dr. Kim introduces him to the room.
"He has appeared on Oprah and Good Morning America and has YouTube videos..." she says.
Howard is not talkative, but keeps kids fascinated with his expert folding of cloth napkins. He does a rose, a fleur de lis, an angelfish. Later at tables covered with the powdered sugar of beignets, children pull paper napkins and try to do what Mr. Howard did.
The outstanding string music program at the Runnels School is displayed with two high school students, Luc Khary and Sean Parker, who play cello classical music beautifully. This is just part of a day filled with volunteers using their talents to raise money.
In the crowded room of families enjoying the live music are fellow Rotary members Cheri McDaniel and Pat Robinson. Cheri, especially, has been earnest in fundraising for the Swaziland medical project.
Over years, with McDaniel's enthusiasm, the Rotary Club has sent significant money, locally and nationally and has about a year or two more's work to complete funding for a medical clinic that might shorten those trips to medical care for the rural people of Mbabane Swaziland.
Dr. Kim says they need about 40 to 50,000 dollars more.
They won't do it with beignets in just one day, but they'll do it because of their commitment, their dedication to a cause they know will make a difference.
"Buying beignets, we have a money box, and we have some pictures for sale. Cheri McDaniel has some pictures, the books, everything goes too.
When I was talking to Daran, I wanted to help with the nurse, but Cheri McDaniel says our Rotary has been helping for so many years that we did
She tried to build a clinic, she gave probably 80-percent of the business. 40 or 50-thousand more."
Next year, fundraising help in New York in June.
Giving ten years of their lives to this cause.