feisty group of local grandmothers from Chilliwack, Sardis, Ryder Lake and Yarrow have combined forces with several local potters to collabo-ate on a fundraising effort to support grand-others in Africa.
The Empty Bowl Fundraiser, taking place on Nov. 25 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the new Yarrow community school (4595 Wilson Rd.), is an effort to raise funds to support African grandmothers who are raising their grandchildren orphaned by HIV/AIDS.
The Chilliwacky Gogos are one of the newest Gogo groups (Gogo is Zulu for Grandmother) to form in Canada. There are more than 40 Gogo groups across the country, and since 2006 these busy, committed grandmothers have raised over $16.5 million for the Stephen Lewis Foundation Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign.
"In the last few years, the media spotlight has dimmed on the HIV/AIDS epidemic," says grandmother Doreen Morrey, co-ordinator of the Chilliwacky Gogos. "And sadly, as a result, funding for grassroots HIV/AIDS programs is dropping off. So it's all the more important for those of us with abundant resources to do whatever little bit we can."
According to Ariel Eastman, a local Gogo, "Africa's grandmothers have become the heart of the response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
As the guardians of children who represent the future and hope of Africa, it is clear that special intervention is needed on their behalf. As groups of grandmothers across Canada, we are finding our collective voice and are advocating for increased awareness of our challenges and the resources available, including financial support."
For a $25 ticket/donation, your attendance at the Empty Bowl Fundraiser will provide you with an African cloth-wrapped, handmade pottery bowl donated by local potters. The bowl will be filled with hearty homemade soup made with locally grown organic vegetables and served with other delicious treats. As well there will be handicrafts for sale, with 100 per cent of the proceeds to to be donated to the African Grandmothers.
"When we came up with the idea for the Empty Bowl Fundraiser, we pitched it to the local potters and the response has been tremendous!" said Sally Lum, grandmother of two. "It's always heartwarming to find such solid community support and generosity for a cause that we need to keep in our hearts and minds."
Local potters who have donated bowls include: Solstice Pottery, Greendale Pottery, Wilson Road Pottery, Schellenberg Pottery, Driediger Pottery, R. Skene and Venema Potters, Fieldstone Pottery, Pottery by Kelly and Inspired Arts and Gifts. All of them are participating in the annual Yarrow Christmas Craft Crawl, which takes place Nov. 22 to 25. Those "crawlers" in need of a heartwarming meal can come in and have their empty bowls filled for a heartwarming cause.
The grandmothers also want to highlight upcoming World AIDS Day, which takes place on Dec. 1 every year. UNAIDS has designated this year's theme to be "Getting to zero," which means zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.
? For more information, tickets or to make a donation call 604-795-6673 and check out www.stephenlewisfoundation.org
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