EXTRAVAGANZA: Huge Christmas Event Creates Joy, Raises Funds
The energy and creativity of our entire Oceanside Grandmothers group culminated on November 27 and 28 in our annual EXTRAVAGANZA. The day before, teams of grandmothers priced craft items and baked goods, set up the room in the Holiday Inn Bayside in Parksville as a beautiful display, and prepared the tables for wrapping and bagging purchases. And then on Friday morning, the doors opened…..
The 2015 Extravaganza buzzed with good feeling not just from our members but also from our supportive shoppers. They know their dollars go toward our cause: to help grandmothers in subSaharan Africa raise their AIDS-orphaned grandchildren. We can make a difference! In total, this year’s Extravaganza raised nearly $29,000 for the Grandmothers Campaign of the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
Below are two slideshows giving a glimpse of our members in action and some of the creative products we sold. To view them most enjoyably, here’s a tip: position your computer window so that you can see both slideshows at the same time, and sit back to let the images go past. May you be left with a smile and a sense of satisfaction!
Santa Sleighs: Preparing for the Extravaganza
Creativity and cooperation for the cause! In these our group excels. As the Extravaganza drawing nearer, this group met November 9 to make seasonal Santa sleighs to sell. Clearly, a whole fleet of Santas will arrive in style!
Sewing Bees: Preparing for the Extravaganza
(by Donna Ross) What could we contribute to the Extravaganza? Virginia, Colleen and I met with this question in the spring and brought our ideas to the table. We put out a call for interested sewers AND non-sewers to help out — to help out in a series of Sewing Bees.
Sessions have been held once a month in my home as I have lots of workspace in my sewing room. We get anywhere from 3 to 10 people joining us.
Some volunteers brought goodies for our lunch break. Some could cut, sew on buttons, do hand stitching, press or serve lunch. The rest would bring their sewing machines and whir away, making goodies multitudes of goodies: baby bibs, receiving blankets, burp cloths, cloth booties, felt playing blocks, children’s pillow cases, reversible cloth bags, wine bottle holders and mitts from recycled sweaters, aprons from recycled men’s shirts, Christmas fashion pillows, tablecloths/runners, quilts, crocheted and cloth potholders, suitcase handle covers, stuffies, pin cushions and kits. Other ideas were stitched at home by many of these grannies – surprises for the Extravaganza.
The Great Monsoon Bottle & Can Drive. August 29.
Garbage, old bottles, and pouring rain! What will we do for the cause? As one of our team remarked as rain came down in bucketsful, “Some of the African grandmothers have to walk a long way for a bucket of water. We’re lucky here!” And so we lucky grans worked together on our Bottle & Can Drive August 29 – and raised roughly $2700 toward the Grandmothers Campaign.
Below are on-the-spot reports from our coordinators — Lorna Reid, working at the Parksville Recycling Centre, and Carolyn Dodd working at the collection point at Schooner Cove.
from Parksville Recycling Centre
(by Lorna Reid) Oceanside Grannies now have the distinction of having held a successful Bottle & Can drive during a monsoon storm!
To the incredibly hard-working and good-natured Grannies and Grand-others who toiled all day sorting and counting and pushing carts full of containers back and forth (often in the pouring rain) thank you so much we couldn’t have done it without you! We also would like to thank the collection crews who distributed brochures and picked up returnables house to house.
A large part of our success is attributable to the great work done by the Publicity Committee whose wise counsel and good ideas helped us spread the word throughout the community – well done and thank you!
All in all I think this was a wonderful example of how well we can work together and ease the difficulties felt by our African counterparts!
from Schooner Cove
(by Carolyn Dodd) The Schooner Cove substation pilot project can definitely confirm: 2015 was The Great Monsoon Bottle Drive.
With winds blowing and skies opening, setup began. Rescue came when Greg Dunn, the manager of the Schooner Cove Marina relocated our venture to a sheltered area by the hotel. He really did save the day. We are most appreciative of the support from Fairwinds. Greg even took photos and “Tweeted” marina members about the Bottle Drive.
Open for business between 10am – 2pm, we were 5 Grans supported by 8 Grand-Others, without whom we could not have managed. There were two routes for pick up, however there was disappointment with those results. Any disappointment dissolved as carloads of donations began to arrive. Just as we began the think the flow had subsided, another vehicle would pull up.
Our mini sorting station soon overflowed. Even with the Reid trailer back up, three truck loads of sorted donations were sent onto Parksville. Great accolades to the Schooner Cove Grand Team for handling the sometimes overwhelming success with such good nature. Around 1pm traffic slowed. A truck was sent out to pick up the reported stash from the marina and the club house. That team carried onto Parksville. Enter stage right – marina manager Greg, to say that we had missed the cache of beer cases which had been accumulating with the marine traffic.
Anyone who saw the floor of the Reid Red Trailer will verify the Bonanza. Sunday there was an additional $46.05 worth of bottles for us. Staff from the Bottle Depot reported that we hold the record for the most successful Bottle Drive.
St. Mark’s Fair, Qualicum. July 25.
Another successful day, another successful year, at the Fair!
Raiders of Lost Art, June 6
It all started with five quilts made by elementary school kids. “I wonder if I could sell these to raise money for the grandmothers,” Colleen Lucas asked herself. After all, she had retired from teaching — and the quilts, which her students had made with so much pleasure in class, were folded up in storage. But didn’t a lot of people have treasures that they were ready to give up?
Out of this idea emerged the formidable group that put together the art show on June 6 at the Quality Resort Bayside. They appealed for donations, gathered treasures, arranged sealed bids on specific items, struggled with pricing, packed the room with roughly 400 donated pieces, and sold artwork between 10am and 4pm. People came. People bought, happily toting away bargains. The total take? A mighty $2600!
Some of the features of this fundraiser were totally familiar: a sense of purpose, cooperation and fun, and teamwork involving others from Grandmothers beyond the organizational group. Some were firsts: the first sale of its kind for Oceanside g2g. And…the debut for the group onto youtube, where the Raiders are stamped with this energetic identity, and their big smiles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_tU9TOVcZU
“Travels with my paintbrush”: Julia Cairns, March 3
On Monday March 30, the Oceanside Grandmothers welcomed a special friend, Julia Cairns, artist and children’s book illustrator. Julia’s world travels and experience of the people in far-off places have been translated from ‘whatever is in my heart’ into fine art for more than 30 years.
Inspired particularly by the African people, Julia developed a unique whimsical style that has become her trademark. Her colourful, cheerful images adorn canvas, children’s books and fabric – some of which decorates the Grandmothers’ popular tote bags.
Refreshments were served, and admission raised funds for the Grandmothers Campaign. Photos below by Eleanor Thompson.