Below, in receding order, are many of our Oceanside Grandmothers to Grandmothers events during 2013.
“Comfort and Joy”: Annual Family Christmas Concert
The Oceanside Concert Band and the Oceanside Grandmothers presented the 4th annual afternoon of music for the entire family on December 15th at Knox United Church in Parksville. This year’s concert welcomed back soloist Rosalee Sullivan and featured Second Wind, a saxophone trio.
Admission was by donation with all proceeds shared equally between the Stephen Lewis Foundation Grandmothers Campaign and the Salvation Army Mt. Arrowsmith Community Ministries.
This event of Comfort and Joy closed our Oceanside Grandmothers to Grandmothers activities for 2013.
The Extravaganza, our biggest fundraiser of the year, was again brilliantly successful: total sales were just over $21,000 and topped our best previous year by $6,000. This is what motivates us — to give support to grandmothers in subSaharan Africa as they bring up their AIDS-orphaned grandchildren.
But the extravaganza is so very much more than a fundraiser alone! It’s an event that highlights the finest qualities of our Oceanside Grandmothers to Grandmothers group. It showcases our creativity as the crafts and baking we have done in our small groups or individual homes come together to mountain the tables with beautiful products. It demonstrates our willingness and energy to put in long preparatory hours behind the scenes, to price thousands of items, set up the displays, greet customers, manage sales, serve refreshments — and then take what’s left all down again (fast!) at the end.
But above all, surely, it is a celebration of teamwork: so many of us contributed to the event, all in our different ways, and with such pleasure in working together. Overall organizer Ann Tardiff deserves our enthusiastic applause. However, beaming over the success of the event, she exclaims, as always, “It’s not me. This was done by ALL OF US!” As a fundraiser, it was splendidly successful.
Below are two slide shows, split by topic simply because there are so many photographs — so many moments to share. Browse through the first and you’ll see many of our grandmothers at the extravaganza. Although you’ll see lots of our creative products that drew the crowds as part of the first slideshow, you’ll see more in the second.
(Tip: Try watching both slideshows at the same time. If they don’t fit into your computer screen’s window, hit the command key and then the minus sign to shrink the webpage to fit. You can hit the command key and then the plus sign to make it larger again.)
Preparing for the Extravaganza: decorating gingerbread houses As the major fundraiser of the year approaches, our members are calling on all their creativity to make appealing decorations and products for sale. Getting together at Jacquie’s house on Saturday, November 23 were a group absorbed by their gingerbread houses. What would be your reaction — if you were Hansel or Gretel?
Preparing for the Extravaganza: Santas and angels
The Extravaganza (November 29 and 30) brings us all together in a major fundraising event. But it’s the culmination of a lot of action behind the scenes. Groups have gathered to make table decorations for the season. Plenty of imagination fuses with plenty of care and plenty of time — to yield plenty of good feeling, and a final benefit for other grandmothers half a world away.
Fall Harvest Jamboree The Fall Harvest Jamboree September 28, held at the Bradley Centre in Coombs, celebrated the time of year with excellent food, a live auction, music, and dancing. “We celebrated some of our local food producers,” declared organizer Eleanor Thompson, and emphasized the teamwork that made the event so successful and enjoyable. “About 44 people, just from our g2g group, made up the crew that put this event together and brought it to a successful end.” The Fall Harvest Jamboree brought in nearly $2000 for the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
“They were so upbeat and enthusiastic,” declared Moira Beauchesne of the grandmothers in the Vancouver Island cycle tour. “They stopped for maybe 30 minutes and then they were off, pedalling and laughing.” Moira and three others from our group hosted the cyclists on September 7 with refreshments as they made a stop along their 3-day ride of 275 kilometres. Roughly 30 grandmothers did the ride, concluding on September 8 in Victoria (in photo). Since the first year of this seven-year annual ride, it has raised almost $300,000 for the Grandmothers Campaign.
St Mark’s Fair, July 27 Our booth at the annual fair in Qualicum Beach gave us excellent community exposure as the crowds passed, paused, and chatted in this summertime Qualicum event. Not only did we raise awareness, but we also made a profit of $800 selling our crafts. For us, it was a day with friendly people in the sun, talking about our cause. For African grandmothers, the profit will give a boost toward such expenses as nutritious food and school fees and school supplies for their grandchildren.
Garden Party, July 6 The sun shone down gloriously on our second summer garden party. Serving coffee and tea, and scores of sandwiches and delicious baked goodies, we worked as a large team to transform Nita Looijen’s garden patios into an outdoor café. We also sold many of our crafts. It was lots of work, but a thoroughly enjoyable day. After expenses, we raised over $3700.
From Pam Vest and Heather Thompson: “All in all, a prosperous day.” We think of the grandmothers in Africa with whom we work in solidarity. Our goal is always to help them raise their grandchildren with hope for the future, as we expect for our own grandchildren. After the hard work and fun of the garden party have faded away, we are able to donate the profits toward the needs of a much more basic life. In sub-Saharan Africa, a grandmother will be able to provide solid food for the children she is raising, and perhaps gain further training herself in skills that advance her family’s well being.
Canada Day, July 1 We carried our banner before us along the parade route through the centre of Parksville. We joined numerous other community groups in waving to our supporters and celebrating both Canada Day and our role in the community.
“Celebrating African Grandmothers, the Heroes of the Continent”: Art Show, June 24 to 28
This juried art show, displaying paintings and quilts, demonstrated cooperation between different Grandmothers groups as we work toward our shared cause. Organized by the New Westminster Royal City Gogos, the show has been hosted by Grandmother groups in numerous communities. Centred thematically on African grandmothers, it presented extremely striking images, all of them accompanied by informative and moving background stories. From contributions and craft sales from those attending, we raised over $1300.
What a massive event! The whole of Oceanside must be set now for summer reading! Lorna Ried’s hardworking team of volunteers gathered in the donated books, organized them into categories, boxed them and transported them all to Wembley Mall in preparation for hundreds of shoppers most of the day Saturday. They helped people find books — often stacks of them — then sold and bagged them to be carried off to new homes. Altogether the book sale generated plenty of smiles and approximately $5500 to help grandmothers in Africa through the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
Celebrity Ties into Evening Bags: Online Auction April 4 to 25
This fundraiser was a venture into totally new territory. For the first step, Diane Tobin contacted scores of Canadian celebrities, asking them to autograph their ties and donate them to an auction. Many responded generously, among them: Stephen Lewis, David Suzuki, Rick Hansen, Peter Mansbridge, George Stroumboulopoulos, Robert Bateman, Stuart McLean, Don Cherry, and former Prime Ministers Joe Clark and Paul Martin. From the new generation of leaders, both Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair donated.
And then Diane took the autographed ties and made them into evening bags. The bag made from Stephen Lewis’ tie is featured in the photo below. The next step was even a bigger venture into unknown territory — for our group at least. The auction ran online! Learning curve? Yes! Too steep for us? No! We learned…and learned!
Just over 30 ties or bags raised $2000 for Grandmothers to Grandmothers. And thanks to our fine supporters Peter Mansbridge and George Stroumboulopoulos, as well as to the publicity through the Stephen Lewis Foundation and Facebook, we spread the word about our cause. George Stroumboulopoulos gave us a tremendous boost (click here) toward our goal of raising awareness of the whole Grandmothers Campaign.
The auction concluded with a face-to-face celebration in Parksville at The MAC, with a silent auction, live music, and refreshments. As in all of our events, we try to raise funds, but we also try to spread the word about the impact of the AIDS pandemic on African families, and the importance of helping the grandmothers of Africa to raise their orphaned grandchildren.
Luncheon with Sally Armstrong, January 23
“Sally Armstrong is an Amnesty International award winner, a member of the Order of Canada, journalist, teacher, author and human rights activist. Armstrong has covered stories in zones of conflict all over the world. From Bosnia and Somalia to Rwanda and Afghanistan, her eyewitness reports have earned her many awards. Armstrong is a powerful and engaging speaker whose far-ranging career has given her a foundation for her message, which is inspirational for people in every walk of life.” from Speakers’ Spotlight……….