Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Virginia to Africa - LOEP at the Festival of Leaves

Virginia to Africa
The Annual Festival of Leaves in Front Royal, VA draws thousands of visitors from the Baltimore/DC metro area who come for the Shenandoah Valley's spectacular Autumn leaf display. This year the Festival is held on Saturday, October 8 and LOEP will take part with Virginia to Africa - our booth highlighting Liberia, teacher training in Liberia and offering a unique mix of handcrafts for sale made by LOEP volunteers with all proceeds to support LOEP work.

The crafting ladies of Browntown Church put in many Saturday hours to produce handcrafted items for the annual Festival. Children's gift items will be available thanks to crafting Browntown ladies who brought their sewing machines and their skills on several Saturdays to produce adorable crayon rolls and ponytail holders. Festival goers looking for perfect stocking stuffers need go no further than Virginia to Africa.

Char Turner and Beth Iden have been crafting items to sell at the Farmer's Market in Harrisonburg, VA. For the past year their work has been available at the market and Char's original handmade prints have become very popular for their delightfully original folk art style. In addition to her original prints, Char also makes beautiful beeswax candles the old fashioned way - melting pure beeswax and dipping each wick repeatedly to produce high-quality candles that burn longer with less drip. Her work is much in demand at the Farmer's Market and, although she can barely keep up with that demand for her art and candles, she managed to make enough to offer candles and prints in LOEP's Virginia to Africa booth at the Festival to support LOEP teacher training work.

Beth's interest in African fabrics and wax prints gets stronger with each trip to Liberia and this year she has put that interest to work for LOEP. She uses the unique textiles in designing and crafting original designs for home decor items and accessories. Bags, table runners and mats, and eyeglass pouches with distinctive African flair will all be available at the Virginia to Africa booth for our friends who share the love of colorful African textiles and may be looking for unusual Christmas gifts.

Each LOEP item comes with a special, handmade bookmark that explains how the gift donation supports education for orphans and vulnerable children in Africa. The Virginia to Africa booth will also feature information on LOEP and pictures of the teachers and children with whom we work each year.

LOEP expenses to ship school supplies are rising and as our own U.S. economy dips, fundraising becomes more challenging. We get great support from our long-time friends and donors, but to remain viable we are finding new ways to keep up our three-times-a-year shipments of school supplies to Liberia. We are also finding great opportunities to make new friends for LOEP. Stop by the Virginia to Africa booth at the Festival of Leaves - we would love to see you!
Bring your checkbook and do some shopping for special folks in your life who will appreciate the donation to help children in Liberia.

If you are interested in giving LOEP handcrafted items for gifts, contact us through www.loeproject.org for details. Some items pictured on the LOEP Facebook page.