Monday, 26 November 2012 15:09

Grandmothers decking the halls for other grandmothers

Written by  Jessi Gowan
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Swift Current’s local Grandmothers to Grandmothers group is gearing up for their winter fundraiser, to help raise money and awareness for the Stephen Lewis Foundation – a grassroots organization that works at supporting grandmothers and orphans on the frontlines of the AIDS pandemic in Africa.


“We usually do a fundraising project like this twice a year, so that we can contribute to the foundation,” explained group member Colleen MacBean. “Not only is it an opportunity for us to raise money, but it’s also a chance for us to talk to more people in the community about what the foundation is.”
Their fundraiser, ‘Deck The Halls’, is a sale of gently used Christmas ornaments and decorations. The items have all been donated to the group in support of the initiative, and will be sold at the Swift Current Mall from 9:30-4:30 on Dec. 1.
“People have been giving us a great variety of stuff, including tree ornaments, house decorations, wreaths, candles, tree skirts, tablecloths, and table runners,” explained MacBean. “Everyone has been very generous, and we will have plenty of stuff.”
The Grandmothers are still actively collecting donations, and will accept anything except strings of lights, since too often they just don’t work. The event will also feature a raffle to win a beautifully decorated Christmas tree donated by Kathi Kennedy. This is their first time doing this fundraiser, and MacBean is optimistic that it will be well-received.
“We are one of hundreds of groups across Canada all working in support of the foundation, and this really has a double purpose for us,” she said. “When we are at the mall, people come up to us and ask us what we are doing, and this is a chance to chat with them a bit about why we do this. It helps to get the word out.”
MacBean is passionate about the work the Grandmothers do to support the Stephen Lewis Foundation, especially since the organization ensures that their projects are initiated by local African communities.
“The communities identify their needs, as opposed to outside ‘experts’ coming in and telling them what they need,” she explained. “It operates on minimal administration, and they are totally supportive of the plight of these African grandmothers who are raising orphaned children.”
The organization operates in fifteen different African countries, and with representatives on hand to visit projects and work with the locals, to ensure that the money raised by groups like the Swift Current Grandmothers is going directly to the need within the community.
“I am just so supportive of the work they do,” added MacBean. “There is no middle man, the money doesn’t go through any bureaucracy – it goes directly to that community in need. It’s such a great organization with a great cause, and it’s important to us to support that.”
Anyone with items to donate can contact Colleen MacBean at 306-773-7386. The Grandmothers will be selling their Christmas decorations at their ‘Deck The Halls’ fundraiser on Dec. 1, at the Swift Current Mall.

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