by Arthur Walker
In 2004, the Marie Strain International Peace Foundation was organized by my wife, Barbara Walker, and me to honor the life and legacy of Marie Strain. Marie was a Concord resident and a peace advocate who organized the Concord Peace Day celebration. This annual event was held on the first Sunday in August for many years as a remembrance of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. It was Marie’s conviction that there was a need for an annual day of observance that emphasized the need for world peace. Marie also spent countless hours contacting U.S. senators and representatives in an effort to get a National Day of Peace on the calendar. The Concord Peace Day event was celebrated from 1980 until 1992, when sadly the effects of Alzheimer’s disease began to take hold, and Marie’s health deteriorated.
In the meantime, Barbara and I wished to honor her by naming our non-profit after her. In 2007, we learned of her passing, and shortly thereafter our organization became a 501c3. The scope of our mission was to include efforts to support children in need in different parts of the world. Among our early efforts was working with a Congregational Church in Framingham who lead youth groups to work in the village of Pommern, Tanzania. The inhabitants of Pommern had limited access to fresh water until the Framingham group helped with funding and expertise to drill wells in the village. The youth group would return from their service work with local handmade gifts necklaces and bracelets, which we would sell, along with our Foundation’s own goods of calendars, cards and such. The funds raised from these sales would be sent directly to the organizations in Africa working with the villagers. We have also helped fund a camp for children in Kenya who are orphaned, and support the Save the Children Foundation.
Our latest fundraising event was a jazz and classical concert at Trinity Episcopal Church in Concord in September. For more information about the foundation, visit https://mariestraininternationalpeacefoundation.com.