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Posted June 12 , 2013

Economic Development

Local Shopping Spurs Global Good

Wellesley women organize clothing exchange to support women in Ghana

WATERLOO- Pat and Leah Bremner, a mother and daughter team from Wellesley, Ontario, recently hosted their second annual clothing, accessories and book sale to raise donations for women in need around the world. MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Associates) was this year’s lucky recipient, with over $700 being raised to provide greater food security to women and their families through MEDA’s GROW (Greater Rural Opportunities for Women) project in Ghana, which is funded by the Government of Canada and MEDA supporters.

Pat and Leah (pictured left) informed their friends and family about the event using social media and word of mouth, encouraging those in the surrounding communities to come shop or to drop off their clothing if they could not attend. The donated clothes were spread throughout the Bremner household, along with a suggested price list, a jar to collect donations for MEDA, and information on MEDA projects focused on assisting women.

Friends and neighbors dropped by for some shopping, snacks, and social time together. At the end of the night, extra items were taken to the New Hamburg Thrift Centre operated by Mennonite Central Committee. Participants had nothing but great things to say about the event:

“Shopping, food, and friends all in the name of women helping women - does it get any better? Congratulations on another successful year, hoping there's many more to come!”

“I had a wonderful evening. Such a great idea! It felt uplifting to clear out my own closet and find some "new to me" treasures. And it’s very exciting that we were able to collectively raise $700 dollars to support fellow women across the globe. Wonderful! Same time next year?”

“Pat and Leah, you created a really wonderful evening for us chicks here in Wellesley that extended out to many women all over the world – How wonderful! Thank you! I'm in for next year too - definitely!”

Highly involved in the community, Pat and Leah are both strong, inspirational women with a global consciousness that is helping others to realize the changes they are capable of making. By cleaning out their own closets and then replenishing with new finds from their peers, they’re also supporting women around the world in their quest to succeed. Pat and Leah choose a different organization to support each year and selected MEDA because they were inspired by the organization’s work.

“Last spring with the idea of cleaning out the closets looming in our minds, my mom and I decided we needed some motivation,” Leah Bremner explained. “It started as an idea to hold a clothing sale or garage sale with our own clothes but it seemed like a lot of work for the amount of reward. It blossomed into inviting others to participate and finding a women's group that would benefit from the money raised.”

MEDA was excited to be this year’s organization of choice. “We are thrilled that there are local women like Pat and Leah who are rallying their community together to support women in need internationally,” said Rachel Hess, GROW project manager. “This is going to make a huge difference in the lives of Ghanaian women. We hope Pat and Leah will serve as trailblazers for other MEDA supporters wanting to organize their own fundraising events like this to support a MEDA project they’re passionate about.”

Leah has thoroughly enjoyed planning this event with her mom, who she describes as a woman who has taught her so many lessons. “Most importantly, though, creating communities for women to lean on, support and learn from one another is vital to maintaining community health. She really is an inspiring woman,” Leah says. We couldn’t agree more. Thanks to these generous Wellesley-area women who attended the event, women in Northern Ghana will increase agricultural production, strengthen their links to markets, diversify the food they produce and understand more about nutrition – ultimately giving their families the security of nutritious food throughout the year. Local shopping for global good – what an idea!

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