Belleville EMC News, June 14, 2012. By Michael Brethour
EMC News -Belleville – They came, they walked … then they sang some songs.
That was the scene at last Saturday morning’s solidarity walk through the downtown core with the Quinte Grannies for Africa and their Brighton sisters, The Apple Route Grannies.
Dianne Raniowski, a Quinte granny and organizer behind this year’s walk, said weather smiled on this year’s walk.
“We were really worried about the weather, but the sun came out just before we began our walk from St. Thomas’s. It has been a really good morning, with well over 70 grannies and granddaughters coming out to participate in the walk,” she said.
Raniowski said that prior to the walk, tallying online donations, the funds raised were up to $7,000. Organizers estimated that well over $8,000 would be raised which takes the grannies well over the target raised over the past few years from the walk.
She noted that the Belleville Stride to Turn the Tide event was a mirror of similar events held by the over 200 groups of grannies across the country.
“We are hoping that nationally we will break the million-dollar mark, we are crossing our fingers for that,” she said.
Participants in Stride to Turn the Tide sought to raise awareness and much-needed funds for the grassroots organizations in sub-Saharan Africa who partner with the Stephen Lewis Foundation. Funds raised from the national walk will be used to provide thousands of African grandmothers with critical support such as nutritious food, sup-port groups, housing, and income generating grants, grief counselling and school fees for their grandchildren.
The walk departed from St. Thomas Anglican Church and progressed down Pinnacle Street to Victoria then back down Front Street to the Market Square carrying photos of Africa Grannies and signs bearing messages of solidarity the whole way. Upon arriving in Market Square, the walkers sang a couple heartfelt songs together.
“It is just a happy experience for all of us, our guests from the Apple Route Grannies thought it was great, not to mention we have a chance to show off our wonderful Farmers’ Market to them,” she said.