Winnipeg fundraiser aims to help grandmothers in sub-Saharan Africa

Grandmothers in Winnipeg have come together at St Vital mall to help other grandmothers across the globe.

They have spent the last five months working together to organize the event in support of women in sub-Saharan Africa.

“Because of the AIDs epidemic in Africa, many grandmothers there are facing the daunting task of caring for their grandchildren who lost their parents to the terrible disease,” said organizer Jean Altemeyer.

“I do this, as do the other volunteers, because we know, as grandmothers, we have not had to face the difficulties that confront grandmothers from Africa,” said Val Kellberg, volunteer.

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This is the fifth year they’ve held the fundraiser, “Art From the Attic” — the past two years, the sale was held online due to COVID-19.

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The group, known as Grands ‘n’ More Winnipeg puts out a call for donations, and then sells the art for five dollars and up.

Roger York Jean Altemeyer and Alison York at storage site.
Roger York Jean Altemeyer and Alison York at storage site. Jean Sorko / Grands N More

All proceeds go to the Stephen Lewis Foundation, to help women raising their grandchildren orphaned by the AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa.

“We have had a tremendous response from Winnipeggers, who have donated over 1,700 pieces of art,” said Diane Sabourin, volunteer.

Bev Bryce in storage area.
Bev Bryce in storage area. Jean Sorko / Grands N More

“In fact, the response has been so good, we stopped taking donations as of August 20.”

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Donations have been wide and varied ranging from prints, water colours, oils, acrylics, decor, contemporary, classic, realistic and abstract art.

Additionally, there were a few notable pieces such as an original Hubert Theroux, an early Robert Hurley, and some Indigenous pieces.

Sales from the fundraiser average around $30,000 each year, according to volunteer Beverly Suek.

“It’s just been amazing, the donations we get, it’s just great. And people know they’re donating to a good cause as well as cleaning out their attic,” she said.

This was the first year the event was held at the shopping centre, which made for a great turnout.

“It’s a lovely venue for us and we get a lot of traffic of people who wouldn’t normally know about it, who just happened to be shopping,” said Suek.

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