Sponsor Profile: A.P. Hurley Construction Ltd.

We couldn't do Gems & Java without the help of our wonderful sponsors. If you were impressed by the fact that we raised more than $80,000 at our 2017 event, know that our sponsors played a key role.

A.P. Hurley Construction Ltd. has been a major sponsor of Gems & Java for several years now, and 2017 was no exception. 

Owner and president Tony Hurley said his company likes to support Mothers with a Heart for Ethiopia's signature fundraiser because it raises money for such important work.

"I think it's a really good cause," Tony said. 

Though he's never been to Gems & Java, Tony has sponsored the event for four years. He got involved thanks to founder Shelley Green, who told him all about the work of Mothers with a Heart for Ethiopia

"It does a lot of good for people, it helps them and their kids," he said.

Thanks to Tony and our other sponsors, Mothers with a Heart for Ethiopia is able to direct its funds to projects that impact women, children, and education in Ethiopia. Thank you so much for your contributions, A.P. Hurley!

Gems Level Sponsors: Gems & Java 2017

We are so grateful to our sponsors who help to make Gems & Java a success!
It is our pleasure to introduce you to this year's Gems Level sponsors...

Roberts & Co. is such a huge supporter of Mothers with a Heart for Ethiopia. In addition to their sponsorship of this year's Gems & Java, the store is also continuing to sell our hand-knit Bears for Busajo! You might also remember seeing them during the Closet Clean Out last fall.

"We chose to sponsor because we believe in the cause of empowering women here and around the world," said owner Vicki Parkhill.

And the hard work of the team behind Gems & Java is inspirational, too, she said.

"The dedication of the volunteers and supporters shows us that when we help others we help ourselves. We join people who share our views, we make new friends and we make a difference," Vicki said.

We are so grateful for the Roberts team. Here Cathy Bateman (left) and Karen Costello (right) show off a couple of those cute bears.

Thank you for your loyal support in so many of our fundraising efforts, Roberts and Co.!


A big thank you to Blanche Blancher and the entire team at Nethercott Press. This Gems Level sponsor is a longtime supporter of Gems & Java, and we are so grateful for the continued support. Thank you so much Blanche and team - your sponsorship helps to make our work possible!

Lawn Lions.jpg

A big thank you to Jeff Jarrell, owner of Lawn Lions Property Maintenance, for his continued sponsorship of Gems & Java. Lawn Lions is a Gems Level Sponsor for this year's event.

We appreciate your support, Jeff!


Ashlee Hall is the co-chair of the Gems & Java committee and has been an incredible asset to the event.  Her event planning experience, her enthusiasm, and commitment to our work have been incredibly beneficial.  Ashlee's workplace, Cowan Park, is a Gems Level sponsor of our event. 

It's not hard to see why we love having Cowan Park as a sponsor - and as the location for Gems & Java.

"We feel very strongly about giving back. As a community-based, not-for-profit organization, we understand and appreciate the tremendous amount of effort, volunteers and time it takes to raise funds to help improve the quality of lives for people," Ashlee said.

"We wanted to be part of something unique and life altering. The programming to support women, children and education in Ethiopia...makes a lasting impact on individual and family lives."

Holding our biggest fundraiser at Cowan Park is a perfect fit. There's room for more women and more beautiful bags, scarves, and jewellery.

"The highlight of the event for us is seeing a large group of women coming together, enjoying time together, shopping and knowing that each item they purchase or donation they make, will greatly impact the lives of other women and especially children in a struggling country. We so often take for granted the fortunate lives we live here in Canada," Ashlee said on behalf of the Cowan Park team.

"Each dollar raised and donated towards this event, cause and organization, is a step closer to the positive change we wish to see in the world."

We can't wait to see all of you at Cowan Park in just a few days for Gems & Java 2017!!


The Saturday Grind

Could there be a more perfect partnership? The Saturday Grind is a new sponsor for Gems & Java, but it’s a rather important piece of the puzzle.

There wouldn’t be much java without The Saturday Grind.

“There was a need for a coffee supply at this year’s event, and I was more than happy to help out,” said Blair Ness-Jack, owner of The Saturday Grind.

His business is stepping up to be a Gems level sponsor at Gems & Java 2017. Blair is also providing guests with a coupon for The Saturday Grind and donating several silent auction items.

“The coffee side of the event was a good fit,” Blair said.

In fact, it’s an important “first” for the Saturday morning coffee joint, which opened a little over a year ago at the Woodstock Farmers Market.

“This is my first sponsorship opportunity I’ve had since starting my business, so I’m quite excited to help out and to provide coffee and support to an event like this,” said Blair, who has a personal connection to Mothers with a Heart for Ethiopia through his mom Wendy, an active volunteer.

Blair can’t make it to this year’s event, but he’s looking forward to fulfilling a crucial role as a sponsor.

“I’m excited to be a part of it.”


Morage Allan and Ryan Shelton

Morage Allan and Ryan Shelton

Wilson and Markle Jewellers

It's the first year Wilson and Markle Jewellers are sponsoring Gems & Java - and the jeweller is lending its support in more ways than one!

Morage Allan and Ryan Shelton at Wilson and Markle also helped to sort through the vast amounts of donated jewellery with an expert eye.

"You had some really interesting pieces. There was one particular pair of silver earrings, elephants, that were really fun.  There was a lot of nice silver things," said Morage.

"We do estate appraisals and things like that, so we’re quite used to sorting through."

Morage said the store was happy to learn about Mothers with a Heart for Ethiopia and provide sponsorship for Gems & Java.

"I think it's a really great cause. I actually have an adopted little boy, as well," she said.

"We like to help where we can in the community."


Lisa Miettinen

Lisa Miettinen


Lisa Miettinen

Lisa Miettinen is a long-time volunteer and supporter of Mothers with a Heart for Ethiopia. She's deeply invested in the work of the organization, and the success of Gems & Java.

"I am amazed at the positive impacts on people's lives as a result of this organization's financial help to projects in Ethiopia, and the money raised at Gems & Java is absolutely critical," she said.

Lisa has travelled to Africa twice as a tourist. There she saw the impact that basic necessities and employment can have on a family.

"I saw the difference between having no hope of control over your situation versus having the basic means to support yourself.  The work of Mothers supports empowerment projects, a 'hand up,' not just a 'hand out,'" she said.

Lisa is hard at work during the two Gems & Java events, but working with the team of volunteers is always a joy, she said.

"Spending time with really wonderful women is the highlight for me.  That and the fun of the Silent Auction!  What will I manage to bring home this year, I wonder?"

Sponsor Profile: Shoppers Drug Mart

Gems & Java wouldn’t be possible without the support of loyal and generous sponsors like Shoppers Drug Mart.

Shoppers Drug Mart's LOVE.YOU. campaign is all about supporting women and women's health, so when Oxford County pharmacy owners heard about the opportunity to sponsor Gems & Java, they knew it was a great fit.

“I know what Shelley is doing in Ethiopia. She started off helping children and doing a lot related to that, and she has seen how it circles back, and has now started working with the moms and the caregivers and the women, who are now empowered to look after their health,” said Lisa Silverthorne, owner of Woodstock's east-end Shoppers.

Two Woodstock Shoppers locations, and stores in Tillsonburg, Ingersoll and Norwich are all part of the major sponsorship for Mothers with a Heart for Ethiopia's signature event.

Lisa, a longtime guest at Gems & Java, said all of her fellow pharmacy owners were more than happy to support the event. The Oxford County stores elected Lisa to speak on behalf of their group.

“It totally works with our platform,” she said. “We like to keep it local - this one is a little bit far-reaching - but I also think it's good to do a little bit of international, or far-reaching, outreach.”

Lisa also noted how much local effort goes into Gems & Java.

“There are so many women putting this event together that it's even empowering for them, I think, as a group to do this. It's helpful for our community that way,” she said.

There’s very few people that I meet that haven’t been touched by Shelley and this purpose, somehow.
— Lisa Silverthorne

“There's very few people that I meet that haven't been touched by Shelley and this purpose, somehow, and I think it's a very admirable community event that Shoppers should be involved in.”

Lisa's seen the dramatic growth of Gems & Java since it started six years ago.

“I love how it has tripled, quadrupled over time and become such a big, prominent event. I really like the fact that it's a very...professionally run event, for all women and everyone in the community. I think the men would even appreciate some of it, with the silent auction table. And (I like) that it is local,” she said.

It's also a great social time, Lisa said.

“All the women I know are there,” she said.

Another highlight is hearing the updates from Ethiopia.

“I love listening to the stories. It wouldn't be complete if Shelley wasn't up there telling me what's going on and what the new stories are,” she said.

We are so grateful to Lisa and all of the Oxford County Shoppers Drug Mart owners. That team is one of our Major Sponsors for Gems & Java 2017. We couldn't do it without you!

Sponsor Profile: Green Private Wealth Counsel, Hollis Wealth

Paul Green

Paul Green

Gems & Java wouldn’t be possible without the support of loyal and generous sponsors like Green Private Wealth Counsel, Hollis Wealth

The Woodstock business is a longtime sponsor. In fact, they’ve supported the event since its humble beginnings six years ago.

Founder Paul Green said that supporting Mothers with a Heart for Ethiopia works for him on multiple levels.

“I have a connection with my sister (Shelley Green) being involved and my niece being from Ethiopia, so it’s a natural fit,” he said. 

But even beyond the family connection, Paul said he wants to support the work that Mothers with a Heart for Ethiopia is doing with women, children and education projects.

“It fits my overall philanthropic philosophy,” Paul said, noting he tries to support organizations that work with marginalized and disadvantaged kids.

I think it’s brilliant.
— Paul Green

“Kids need the love. They need people in their lives,” he said.

The volunteer power behind Mothers with a Heart for Ethiopia is another source of inspiration for Paul.

“I tend to make donations as my way of contributing,” he said. “I look at my sister and I look at all the volunteers in that organization, and it’s pretty hard not to want to help out.”

When Gems & Java was first getting off the ground, Paul admits he didn’t fully understand the vision. But after seeing the success of the first few events, he was quickly converted.

“Women are very social, they like to get together, and they love the opportunity to get stuff if it’s going to benefit them and charity,” he said.

“I think it’s brilliant.”