Schell: Helping 70-year-old Mamma care for 50 Haitian orphans

LOVE Takes Root is an organization that focuses on helping children in desperate need around the world by delivering basic aid and education.

LOVE Takes Root is an organization that focuses on helping children in desperate need around the world by delivering basic aid and education.

Erin Lewis’s dad, Dr. Rick Wilkerson, flew to Port Au Prince, Haiti in 2010 and while working at a hospital, became aware of a shelter nearby that was filled with children. This make-shift shelter was being run by a woman known as Mamma, a 70-year-old grandmother, who was caring for more than 50 orphaned children with little food, clothing or medical treatment available.

Dr. Wilkerson’s big heart led him to organize a group in his native Iowa, allowing him to now officially adopt the orphanage.

Now Lewis, obviously her father’s daughter, is spreading the love and has organized a Pajama Jam at her and her husband’s family winery in East Kelowna, The Vibrant Vine.

Lewis came up with the idea from her eldest daughter whose birthday is Oct. 15. It was her idea for all her friends to donate pj’s to kids without them instead of getting gifts for herself.

The best part is that the pj’s will be hand delivered by her dad to the orphanage. Erin and her husband Tony hope to collect 68 pairs of pajamas—one for each child there.

“Donations can be made at anytime,” Lewis said, “however, on that day we want to take pictures of the people that are donating because the kids in Haiti love getting pictures, especially of other children.”

If you would like to donate in any way, or become a part of this wonderful organization, please see their web site: LOVE Takes Root has a direct link to the orphanage and, consequently, 100 per cent of received donations through the web site go directly to the orphanage. Erin Lewis can be reached at 250-575-9105.


There is a fabulous event happening this weekend at a mystery location.


On Sunday, Sept. 11 the Okanagan Chefs Association is hosting the second annual Farm to Fork Global Scholarship event. This is an on-farm, black-box style cooking competition for qualifying chef members that will see the winner travel to Italy in the fall of 2012 to live, study and work on an agriturismo farm from approximately Sept. 1 to Nov. 15.

The Okanagan Chefs Association will pick up the return airfare, ground transportation costs to and from the farm as well as providing the winner with $1,000 for living expenses.

They are keeping the event location a secret from the competitors until the evening before.

Only 20 tickets are being sold, available at Codfather’s Seafood. In addition to getting front row seats around a large harvest table, ticket holders will be treated to a farm tour and an inspired, multi-course wine country lunch provided by the competitors.

I attended last year and it was an unbelievable experience. Yay for the Okanagan Chefs Association.



Jennifer Schell is editor of B.C. Wine Trails Magazine.


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