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CRAFTING A CARING CULTURE
Thursday 23rd June 2011

A small, very small, grouping of friends – Brits Janda Spinks and Christine Williams, and Canadian Hanna Pinsent – Women Who Care have been giving and receiving these past two years through their fundraising efforts on behalf of various charities: SANDS Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society, the Salvation Army, the Youth Sailing Programme, the Tindale Seventh Day Adventist Church Community Services, and various individuals in need. Usually the fundraising takes the form of a monthly book sale at the entrance of Epicurean’s Jolly Harbour branch but this weekend they’re preparing to mount their second craft fair this coming Sunday (June 26th), just across the way on the lawn. Proceeds from that activity will benefit the St. John Hospice. “Janda and I, we volunteered to help with the hospice,” Christine told Antigua Nice, “(and) we recognized how necessary the hospice is to the island.” Fundraising proceeds for the remainder of the year will benefit the hospice exclusively.
 
So, why do they do it?
 
Well, Christine who’s lived here six years, said that she Janda, resident here eight years, and Hanna who’s been dividing her time between here and Canada for about five years, simply wanted to get involved in life on their second home. Speaking for herself and Janda, whose involvement with SANDS started this off, she said, “we both work full time but we wanted to do something for the community, to be involved in the community.”
 
Besides, they enjoy fundraising. “We enjoy it immensely,” Christine said. “We feel we’ve given a service but also we get to meet lots of different people and we see what other people do and also we’ve helped a lot of causes…it makes us appreciate what we’ve got.”
 
Their fundraising push began with the sale of their personal libraries. “We brought lots of books from England (and) didn’t have a lot of space for them once we got here,” Christine said, adding that “books are so expensive here and we thought why don’t we share these and let someone else enjoy them.” It caught on quickly, and their first Saturday of every month book sale has its following of regulars.
 
The craft fair, the first of which was held on Mother’s Day, marks a new direction for them. But it’s caught on, especially with crafts people who don’t have a lot of venues available to them. “Weather wise, it was horrendous,” Christine said of the Mother’s Day fair, “but the traders were fantastic. The attendance wasn’t as good as we’d hoped (but) every single trader said they wanted us to do another one.” For a pitch, they pay $20 and many have been known to contribute a percentage of their profits to the cause. “We’re all helping each other,” is how Christine put it.
 
The interest shows in the jump from 24 stalls at the first fair to 30 stalls for Sunday’s event. There’ll be jewelry, sandals, soaps, cosmetics, chutneys, jams, plants, shell ornaments…and, of course, books during the fair hours, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., on the lawn at Jolly Harbour. There’ll be activities for the kids as well; bouncy castles and face painting. “It’s an opportunity for people to come out, have a walk around, meet people, (and see and purchase items) made on the island,” said Christine.
 
She took the rare opportunity to express thanks to those who’ve supported their efforts over the years; primarily their regulars and everybody that’s donated to all their causes. Quite apart from the dollars they themselves raise, they’re hoping that their efforts will “make other people aware that there are people that need help” and inspire in others a desire to give back as well.

Will the craft fair become a staple for Women Who Care? “We’re going to see how this Sunday goes,” Christine hedged, noting that if it does there may be a merger of that and the book sales and a shift in their regular schedule. Time will tell.


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