While we might be crossing our fingers that summer has finally come to stay in the Lower Mainland, Oneness Gogos have not forgotten the upcoming fall and winter, and the needs of new Canadians who have never experienced below-zero temperatures.
Volunteers have been working tirelessly to knit, sew and create crafts and clothing to raise money for grandmothers in Africa, and now also for new African immigrants to Canada.
"Gogo" means grandmother in Swahili, and the South Surrey/White Rock group of Oneness Gogos are one of several branches that have cropped across the Lower Mainland. All the money they raise goes to the Stephen Lewis Foundation, and then onward to African grandmothers who are left to take care of children whose parents have died from the AIDS epidemic.
Recently, the Gogos partnered with moja Operation Compassion Society, a Newcomers Family Services organization in Whalley that serves new immigrants to Canada.
With wool that is donated to them, the Gogos are making toques and scarves to be sold at their craft fundraising events, such as the Ladner Farmer's Market, where they will be one Sunday of each month through September.
However, the items will not be given to those who purchase them, but will be donated to Umoja and the proceeds of the sale will be donated to the Stephen Lewis Foundation in the purchaser's name.
Donna McBride, president of Oneness Gogos, is thrilled at how successful the group has been with their projects and events.
"One of our bigger events was an African dinner in April, which was fabulous," McBride recalled enthusiastically.
The group is also looking to become a member of the Semiahmoo Arts Council.
The volunteers at Gogos all share a love for arts and crafts, and how their hobbies can benefit others.
Volunteer Petra Savard has made heaps of special items, and she said her favourite is making jewelry trees as centre or mantle pieces.
She was recently in Penticton for the Elvis/car show, and designed special Elvis and car designs on tote bags especially for the event to sell for the Gogos, but unfortunately it got rained out, and she is left with the snazzy bags for anyone interested back home.
For more information on the Gogos, to join, buy an item for charity or donate, visit www.greatervangogos.org/category/ oneness-gogos.