by Stephen Dafoe
The Morinville & District Grandmothers’ HATS (Hands Across The Sea) will be hosting a Giant Grandmothers’ Garage Sale on Saturday, Oct. 21, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Morinville United Church Basement (corner of Grandin Dr. & Morinville Dr.).
The event, which the charity-minded grandmothers host a couple of times each year will feature a variety of items as well as a lunch that is always well received by attendees.
“We call ourselves “HATS” (Hands Across The Seas), and we are a diverse group of grandmothers and grand-others who raise funds for the grandmothers in Africa through the Stephen Lewis Foundation,” said member Delsie Thachuk.
Thachuk said the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa has forced African grandmothers into parental roles, profoundly altering the grandmothers’ families with many raising as many as six to 10 grandchildren in situations Thachuk said can best be described as desperate.
“These grandmothers are struggling against all odds, and yet they are committed and they struggle on a daily basis to clothe and feed their grandchildren and send them to school,” she said.
This is where the Stephen Lewis Foundation comes in and it is to the Foundation that HATS send funds. The Stephen Lewis Foundation sends out workers to the various villages in selected areas of Africa, providing grandmothers with education and support.
“The workers encourage community-based projects such as gardening, weaving etc. so that the grandmothers and their children become self-sufficient and independent,” Thachuk said. “This is a huge commitment and progress is slow, but the [Stephen Lewis Foundation] is making progress.”
Over the last 10 years, the group has collected and donated approximately $46,000 to the grandmothers in Africa, through the Stephen Lewis Foundation. Their goal for this year is to surpass the $50,000 mark.
“With the community behind us, how can we fail?” Thachuk said.
[subhead]Always looking for members
The grandmothers and grand-others (as they call other members) are people who enjoy each others company. Thachuk said they often laugh and cry as they share in projects and news about grandmothers and in Africa.
The group meets on the 2nd Tuesday of every month at 1 p.m.. at the Morinville United Church.
“We welcome new members, whether they are grandmothers or grand-others with open arms,” Thachuk said.