KGC’s spring sale supports African grandmothers with one-of-a-kind gifts

African grandmothers with solar lanterns, which replace expensive paraffin and provide a safer light source for families. Image via Help Lesotho.

The Kingston Grandmother Connection is welcoming spring with another round of online shopping. The one-of-a-kind items will be available through the month of April, which the Grandmothers point out is just in time for Easter and Mother’s Day gifts.

According to Deb Ruse, a volunteer with the Kingston Grandmother Connection, gift ideas include sea glass pendants, gorgeous felted scarves, and new suncatchers, to name just a few.

“In table décor we have spring colours in placemats, as well as a selection made with African fabrics,” Ruse shared. “For Easter, we have a few lovely New To You dresses for little girly girls. Our Marvelous Makers are still working, so I know there will be many more items to come.”

The online store has surpassed the Grandmothers’ wildest expectations, according to Ruse. “Our members have really been enthusiastic about contributing and supporting it, whether it was donating their handmade items, collecting art, delivering purchases, telling their friends. I call them our Marvelous Makers and Donors,” she said.

Kingston Grandmother Connection (KGC) is a group of women involved in supporting The Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmother to Grandmother Campaign and Help Lesotho. Both of these highly-regarded Canadian charities support programs in 15 African countries aimed at helping African grandmothers and their families.

“Both of the charities we support work with beneficiaries of all ages, in 15 African countries, but our focus is their work with grandmothers,” Ruse explained. “To counter the challenges in these ladies’ lives, psychosocial support is a prime need. Most recently in Lesotho, 200 grandmothers caring for orphaned grandchildren attended monthly training days over one year, where they learned to restore their self-esteem, better communicate, access education, and build a support network amongst themselves. These grandmothers were also provided with solar lanterns. Most live in homes without electricity and would have used paraffin lamps and candles for light. Solar lanterns replace expensive paraffin and are safer to use, giving the whole family benefits such as light for cooking, caring for babies, [and] taking care of people who are ill; and younger and older siblings can share the light to study with.”

While in-person sales used to be the backbone of the KGC, their online store was a necessity during the pandemic years. Ruse said that they have reached many “new friends” in the Kingston area with their Shopify store, and attracted new members to their cause.

“We’re going to hold on to the [online] store until at least this fall, when we see how comfortable we are with holding indoor events, and how comfortable our followers are in attending them,” she said.

In addition to their online store, KGC is planning an in-person driveway sale on Saturday, Jun. 4, 2022. “We are really looking forward to seeing some of our faithful followers, our members, and other Kingstonians at these sales. And best of all, shoppers know that every purchase makes a difference for a grandmother and her family,” Ruse said.

The KGC is also looking forward to the fall, when they hope to resume their long-running fall market. This year’s event is scheduled for Nov. 5 at Crossroads United Church. 

Image via KGC.

Help support the African grandmothers by making a purchase at the Kingston Grandmother Connection spring sale between Sunday, Apr. 3 and Friday, Apr. 29, 2022. Local pick-up and delivery options are available.

Visit the Kingston Grandmother Connection website to learn more about where your support goes and how the group helps African grandmothers. Future events will be announced on the group’s Facebook page as well.

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