Jean and her table of friends from New Hamburg would definitely have taken home the prize for best-dressed guests! The ladies, part of a Red Hat Society, showed off their finest hats, headbands and fascinators. It was Jean’s first time at Gems & Java, and she said she knew it would be a great day as soon as she walked in the door.
“I was sold on the idea when I walked in, because the volunteers made every effort to sell it. It looks beautiful as soon as you come in. I thought, it’s worth a $50 ticket just to walk in and see what they’ve done.”
Rowan may have been one of the youngest guests at Gems & Java, but his heart was as big as any of our major donors. Rowan, 12, and his mom bid on silent auction items - winning the hand-knit Harry Potter bear you see in the photo! - and they also shopped at our Ethiopian Marketplace and made a donation to the GETS program, Girls Empowered Through Soccer.
Rowan said the challenges facing women and children in Ethiopia struck him hard, especially the young girls who play on two soccer teams in Harar. Many of those players don’t have enough to eat, and are balancing adult responsibilities such as caring for sick parents or selling products on the street to help keep their families afloat. It pained Rowan to hear that some children in Ethiopia wouldn’t have the chance to get involved in athletics the way he has.
“I love to play sports. The soccer (program), I thought was really awesome. I want to give other people who couldn’t do that their own chance to play sports. This (donation) takes just a little bit out of what most people earn every year, that they might spend on something else that’s not as important. This is changing lives.”
His mom said their motivation to invest in our work is simple: “It just makes us feel so good.”
When Michele’s friend put out a call on Facebook looking for people to fill a table at Gems & Java, she had enough takers for all the seats within 15 minutes.
So, what did this first-time guest think of the event? We caught up with her after the presentation:
“I thought it was amazing. Well done. Very, very articulate.”
Marion, a longtime Gems & Java guest, stocks up on our cute little hand-knit Bears for Busajo at Gems & Java every year. But then she turns around and donates those teddy bears to another good cause, the Christmas Place, where low-income families in Woodstock can go to choose their own gifts during the holiday season. Gifts, donated by generous folks like Marion, are priced at just a few dollars so that they’re within reach for families going through a tough time.
"I don't have any little people to buy for, and I like buying things for Christmas. It helps Mothers with a Heart, and it provides something for someone who can't afford something like this.”