Petawawa Grannies raise $3,900
Stephen Uhler/Pembroke Daily Observer/Postmedia Network The Petawawa Legion was filled Sunday during the seventh annual Grand African dinner, held Sunday. It marked the 10th anniversary of the formation of the Petawawa chapter of the Grandmothers to Grandmothers group, raising money to fight HIV in Africa.
PETAWAWA – The Petawawa Grandmothers to Grandmothers group marked two milestones on March 4 – the 10th anniversary of their founding and the eighth annual Gran African Dinner.
Held at the Petawawa Legion, the dinner raised $3,900 for the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which is helping to battle HIV/AIDS in Africa. In particular, it zeros in on helping support the needs of the African grandmothers who end up caring not only for their children made ill by the disease, but their grandchildren as well.
The Petawawa Grannies group seeks to raise awareness and mobilize support in Petawawa and area to be a lifeline for the African grandmothers and their grandchildren through the Grandmother to Grandmothers organization and the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
Esther Gaudet, the president of the Petawawa Grannies, said they are working hard to bring awareness and much needed support to Africa, saying there is just so much to do including supplying needed medications, education campaigns on the nature of HIV and how to prevent its spread. This need is even greater now that some governments have cut back funding to these programs.
The dinner is cooked and supplied by volunteers with the Petawawa Grannies, and the menu caters to African, Canadian, vegetarian and gluten free guests.
Gaudet said they started with offering only African dishes, but gradually decided to expand the dishes they offer, in case the 100-so guests weren't keen on more exotic fare.
This year, they served roast turkey, scalloped potatoes, roasted root vegetables (Mboga Kitoweo), rice, sweet potato biscuits (Mbatab), plantain, coconut, black-eyed peas (Maharage), African chicken casserole with ham and cabbage (Chicken Joloff), coconut chicken, collard greens, pumpkin cake, both wheat-based and gluten free, and plenty of fruit.
A silent auction was ongoing, and entertainment was provided by Barb Clarke and the Barb Clarke Trio. Clarke also served as emcee of the event.
Members of the African Student Alliance from the Pembroke campus of Algonquin College attended the dinner as well.
Gaudet said the Petawawa Grannies have a membership of 20 to 25 so far, but they are trying to recruit others. She was pleased they got a group of young volunteers to help out at the dinner.
She said it isn't necessary to be a grandmother to join up.