Through 10 years of work, the Oceanside Grandmothers to Grandmothers have raised about $450,000 to support grandmothers in Africa.
The local group hopes to raise thousands of dollars more starting with their next event: the 10th Christmas Extravaganza running Nov. 24-25 in Parksville.
Grandmothers and grand-others with the group have been working year-round creating paintings, quilts, hand-made jewelry, preserves and more, and continue to work right up to the event making items such as fresh wreaths and baked goods.
The NEWS caught up with some of the group as they put together their wreaths at the home of Carol Lundine, who began Oceanside Grandmothers to Grandmothers along with her friend, Kathy Grand.
Lundine said that she and Grand were inspired to start G2G after hearing Stephen Lewis (chair of the Stephen Lewis Foundation) speak in Nanaimo just as he was introducing his idea to have Canadian grandmothers support grandmothers in Africa.
According to the foundation, many African grandmothers have become parents once more, taking care of grandchildren orphaned by the HIV and AIDS epidemic.
In addition to taking care of, in some cases, 15 grandchildren, they are often pillars of their communities, creating local savings-and-loan groups, sitting on land-rights councils and pressing for human rights.
Fundraisers such as the Christmas Extravaganza contribute to the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s work that provides grandmothers and their children with food, shelter, school supplies, income-generating activities and more.
Lundine and another member of the Oceanside group, Ann Tardiff, had the opportunity to travel to Africa several years ago to see the impact of their work, and to meet with grandmothers there.
“You come back and you just can’t work hard enough,” said Lundine.
“As long as I’m still standing and coherent, I’ll be working for this group,” she said.
The Christmas Extravaganza sale takes place at the Quality Resort Bayside in Parksville on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 24 and 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
All net proceeds from the Christmas Extravaganza sale go to the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
Oceanside Grandmothers to Grandmothers has about 120 members. The group is hoping to add new members, and they need not be grandmothers. Anyone interested can call Lundine at 250-752-1553 or 250-927-6154.