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COMMUNITY HERO:
MATTHEW COHEN
by David Kelly

Matthew Cohen shows the power of Solar Ovens

There are many students who believe that relief should be offered to those in need. But few take on the responsibility of providing for those in need with the drive of Matthew Cohen. As an elementary school student, Cohen was introduced to the great potential of solar-powered ovens by his teacher and mentor, Rowena Gerber.

In many rural communities, people must use wood and coal to heat food, pouring carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and forcing cooks to inhale the equivalent of several packs of cigarettes per day. Solar ovens eliminate that pollution, as well as the need for fuel. They can bake, boil and steam all varieties of food at temperatures of up to 500 degrees F, purifying water and feeding entire villages with only the power of the sun.

Impressed by the utility and environmental impact that solar ovens have, Matthew continued to work with his teacher Mrs. Gerber on her solar oven project as he moved into middle school. Through bake sales and other fundraisers in their community, Matthew and other students successfully raised funds to bring ovens to villages in Senegal.

When the nation of Haiti was rocked by catastrophic earthquakes last year, Matthew felt compelled to apply his experience to the relief effort. He created the website powerfromthesun.us, to educate the public about the infinite capability of solar ovens and to raise money for the distribution of the devices throughout Haiti. Because solar ovens operate without the need for electricity, they can be put to immediate use in communities whose infrastructures were devastated by the earthquake.

To date, Matthew has raised over $5000 for the Haiti project. When he is not studying, Matthew continues to spread the word of his project to as many people as possible. He holds strongly to the maxim that Rowena Gerber taught him years ago, that “one voice can make a difference.”


Written by David Kelly
Last changed on: 2/16/2011

Power From The Sun Matthew's philanthropic solar oven website

 

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