The South Surrey co-founder of a society that supports widows and orphans in Zimbabwe is asking residents to save up new and gently used items that they no longer need or want, and donate them to an annual fundraising effort.
Sue Janetti – who recently returned from three months in the impoverished African country – said the Zimbabwe Gecko Society’s garage sale is returning to the White Rock Baptist Church (1657 140 St.) in mid-July.
ZGS, founded by Janetti and her husband Frank, has been working to improve conditions in Zimbabwe since 2008.
Over the years, funds raised – including some $20,000 from last fall’s Mini Art and Craft show – have helped bring clean water and sanitation to sundry communities, ship containers of medical and school supplies, convert shipping containers for permanent use, establish a Foundations for Farming program and more.
Last year, Janetti reported that donations also enabled the society to help teachers at a Zimbabwe school with food packs. The teachers did not receive any pay during the pandemic closures, she noted.
For the latest trip, the Janettis packed hundreds of boxes with everything from kitchenware to leather supplies, to shoeboxes for ‘Christmas in January,’ for delivery via shipping container. Many of the items were donated from around the Lower Mainland, including Surrey.
Sewing machines, fabric and carpentry tools that were contributed benefited a new program in Murambedzi, a town in central northern Zimbabwe.
In emails sent over the course of the most recent trip, Janetti shared trials, tribulations and successes – from injuries she suffered in a fall in Nairobi and progress on small houses for the destitute, aged or orphaned, to the distribution of items for clinics, schools, sewing centres and hospitals and bracing for a cyclone.
“At times it felt like there was no progress and just hard work,” Janettie writes. “But now it is mostly finished we are all very pleased with the progress and realize that in fact a lot has been accomplished.”
Proceeds from the garage sale – set for 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 16 – will benefit the society’s ongoing projects.
Those wishing to donate items for the sale are asked to bring them to the church on July 15, between noon and 6 p.m. Janetti asks that people do not drop off electronics, books, CDs, tapes or large furniture.
For more information on the Zimbabwe Gecko Society, visit zimbabwegecko.com
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