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Across The Dakotas

Solar Oven Partners

It is with deep sorrow that we share the news of Christopher Sylvah’s passing. Christopher, the devoted director of Solar Oven Partners, passed away on July 1, 2024, while embarking on a mission to the Navajo Nation in New Mexico.

Christopher was cherished by the Dakotas-Minnesota Area of The United Methodist Church. A lifelong member of Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church in Saint Paul, Minnesota, he served faithfully with an office in Elk River, Minnesota, and was a dedicated employee of the Dakotas Conference.

In Memory Of Christopher Sylvah Qr Code

Please keep the family of Christopher in your prayers. If you would like to give a gift of support to the Sylvah family use the QR code to share your gift online. Or, send your gift in the form of a check to the Dakotas Conference, P.O. Box 460, Mitchell, South Dakota, 57301. Please write the check to the Dakotas Conference and include in the memo line “Sylvah Family Donation.”

To read the latest about how you can help Solar Oven Partners mission through alternative gift-giving, see this recent news article filled with information and links to resources.

For 23 years, SOP has distributed more than 12,500 ovens to families who helped build and learned to use them. Demand for ovens has grown in the Dominican Republic and Sierra Leone. We are also developing a partnership with people of the Navajo Nation in Arizona and New Mexico.

Why Are Solar Ovens Needed?

Happy Skeptic Sop2

A woman in the Dominican Republic is visibly happy about her new solar oven, and the instruction she received on using it effectively.

For a third of humanity, a hot meal means cooking over an open fire. More than 40% of the population of the Dominican Republic live in poverty.  The women of the household are frequently balancing the purchase of cooking fuel against buying adequate and healthy food to feed the family.

Solar Ovens provide relief.  It is an economical way to cook food. Our solar ovens also pasteurize drinking water to help reduce life-threatening disease, such as diarrhea and dehydration. This helps to reduce the child- and infant-mortality rates resulting from water-borne diseases.

Cooking with charcoal, the traditional fuel in countries like the Dominican Republic, is unhealthy. Solar Ovens eliminate the air pollution from burning charcoal, which also reduces respiratory and eye disease, and dangerous burns among women and children who tend charcoal cooking fires.

How Can I Help?

Joanne Singrey Johnson And Dave

Volunteers assembling solar oven parts in one of the workshops in the Dakotas.

Give the gift of a solar oven to a family in need. Costs of components and shipping for the high-quality ovens have topped $100. When added to the cost of the program’s two-day training seminars—an essential element in successfully placing an oven—the cost is approximately $150 per family.  Tax-deductible gifts of any size are important. You may make a one-time gift or a monthly contribution through the UMCOR link. 

Two options to donate:

  • Write a check to: Solar Oven Partners/ Dakotas UMC Advance #637 and mail to: 

         Solar Oven Partners
         1331 W. University Ave.
         PO Box 460
         Mitchell, SD 57301


  • Serve on a Volunteers In Mission (ViM) team at your own expense to help with solar oven assembly and training for solar cooking.
  • Volunteer to help fabricate oven components at our Montrose workshop or our reflector workshop at Rapid City, or help package oven boxes and other items for shipment at our centeral workshop in Raymond, SD
Ied Student With Oven1

A student with her new oven in the Dominican Republic.

Where Can I Learn More?

Lead the way—cook with the sun!


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