KAWARTHA LAKES-In 2022 Dennis Geelen and his wife Cindy Williams were asked to join a brigade going to Honduras to visit children in an orphanage to distribute much-needed supplies and play some games with the kids. They jumped at the chance and it was a life-changing experience for both.
“It was incredible.” Dennis Geelen told Kawartha 411 News. “While we were there we met two young ladies who had grown up through the orphanage. Once you are done highschool you don’t live at the orphanage anymore. If you make it to university there’s another place you can live, it’s called a transition house where you learn to live and cook your own meals etc. and that’s where these two girls were originally but they had to leave university to look after a family member that was ill.”
When Geelen and Williams met Nancy and Angie the sisters were trying to get back into university but didn’t have the funds. That’s when Williams came up with the idea of selling greeting cards.
“When I met these girls I realized that despite their plight, they were living in a one-room, very simple living situation, they didn’t even have a kitchen, just a hot plate but they never complained at all,” Williams explains. “I noticed Nancy always making incredible things using scrap paper or serviettes and I realized how creative they both were and yet they have this desperate situation. So I thought maybe they could make some greeting cards and I could bring them back to Canada and sell them.”
100% of the proceeds go to the sisters. Since May, Williams and Geelen have sold three batches of cards with each card selling for $5, bringing in $175 a month for both girls.
Williams says that’s enough money to pay the education costs for both sisters.
“It’s very humbling to think that wow you are collecting $5 from different people and you’re making such a huge impact on the trajectory for these girls. It makes me feel awe-struck that we are so blessed here, kids here can get loans or support to go to university but to think these sisters are looking to us to get them through the next year. I’m very grateful.” said Williams.
For Geelen it’s about helping the pair learn some valuable life skills.
“What I find cool is they’ve had a lot of really generous people sponsor them throughout their life, that’s how the orphanage works, but in this case, they are learning to break that cycle a bit. They are learning some entrepreneurial skills, if they do this work, if they are creative and if they connect they are earning the money it’s not just something that’s being donated to them,” said Geelen.
The cards are for birthdays, thank you notes and some are blank. Another 200 cards are currently on the way from Honduras.
“They would make a great Christmas present!” says Williams.
The cards are selling 4 for $20 and can be delivered to people around Lindsay or Peterborough the first week of December. Payment can be made in cash or via e-transfer at the time of delivery. Orders be made by sending an email to [email protected].