This was going to be the eighth year Red Deer’s Grammalink-Africa would have hosted its mac and cheese lunch fundraiser.
But COVID-19 threw a wrench into those plans.
Nonetheless, Grammalink-Africa is still raising money for the Stephen Lewis Foundation through an online mac and cheeseless lunch fundraiser, which runs until Tuesday.
While donors aren’t able to feast on a cheesy lunch this year, every $20 donated will result in the Red Deer Food Bank receiving a box of mac and cheese.
“The grandmother group here … is very sensitive to the need for us to follow the COVID-19 regulations,” said Grammalink-Africa chair Diane Assinger.
“We’re also very sensitive to the needs of the rest of the population who are losing jobs and those working hard to get on top of this pandemic.
“We felt that we should do as much as we could to support our own local community.”
So far, more than $2,400 has been raised – the goal is to collect $3,000. The lunch raised $4,800 in 2019.
The Stephen Lewis Foundation is a non-governmental organization that assists mostly AIDS- and HIV-related grassroots projects in Africa.
“They fund projects in Africa, which is also dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic on top of the HIV/AIDS pandemic,” said Assinger.
Money raised will go directly to the foundation’s grassroots partner organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa.
These organizations are working directly with grandmothers who are raising their grandchildren, and assists them to form support groups, provide access to health care and develop income-generating projects.
Assinger says she is a little “disappointed” the traditional mac and cheese lunch had to be cancelled.
“We always have a lot of fun at our lunches. The people who attend come for the fellowship, a good time and also some good food,” she said.
“We have also been able to sell crafts and things that have been sewn by our group to raise extra money, so we aren’t able to do that this year.
“It is a disappointment, but we are really gratified by the support that’s been shown to us at this point with this online fundraiser.”
For more information on Grammalink-Africa and the mac and cheeseless fundraiser, visit www.grammalink.org.