Shuswap winery site of fundraising garden party

A local Rotary club is raising funds for two international programs that will better the lives of children.

Salmon Arm dentist Eugene Tymkiw treats a young Ecuadorian student.

Salmon Arm dentist Eugene Tymkiw treats a young Ecuadorian student.

Aglass of wine and thou could make a big difference in the lives of thousands of children in Kenya and Ecuador.

Sip wine, sample appetizers and enjoy the music of Sandy Cameron and Babalu in the beautiful surroundings of Granite Creek Estate Wines.

Shuswap Rotary Club is hosting a fundraising garden party at the Tappen winery Saturday, July 14 to benefit the annual Ecuador Dental Mission and the African Barani School Lunch Program.

Shuswap Rotary Club member Mike Boudreau accompanied five OUC Okanagan students to Kenya last year, where he connected with local Rotary clubs to see how area youths could be supported.

That led him to Barani Primary School, in the small rural village of Kanamai, just north of Mombassa where he taught Grade 8 math for two weeks.

Many of the children were not only without lunch, they hadn’t had breakfast, says Boudreau, noting many were lucky to get one meal a day.

“Seeing an emaciated child on TV is totally different from standing face-to-face with that child,” he says. “It is heart-wrenching that we can be so oblivious of the need and do little about it when we have so much in comparison.”

When he departed Kanamai, Boudreau left $100, a sum that fed 25 kids for more than a month.

He shared his experience with Shuswap Rotary and the club began feeding some 100 children in the school that has 1,200 students.

“Everybody in the club pitched in $5 a week and we got donations from friends,” he says, noting the club was also responsible for restoring safe running water to the school. “So we’re feeding up to 200 a day now and we sent money over for a new pump, tank platform and water tank.”

Another Shuswap Rotary member, dentist Gene Tymkiw also believes in humanitarian service and uses Rotary connections in Ecuador to provide dental care to those who would otherwise do without treatment.

He and assistant Donna Cook made their second visit to Ecuador in January, where they provided necessary dental care to hospital patients awaiting surgery before heading out to area schools.

This year, Tymkiw and Cook treated about 200 people in the South American country.

“We spent five working days in five different schools,” says Cook. “And we probably saw about 40 patients in hospital before they had surgery for hips and knees.”

Supported by Shuswap Rotary and Rotary Clubs in Edmonton, the team Tymkiw and Cook travel with consists of about 55 people, including orthopedic surgeons, nurses, anesthetists, physicians and dentists.

Sunday’s garden party crew will be just as talented and devoted to helping those less fortunate but in a different way.

Well-known sax-man Sandy Cameron and his Babalu crew include Jim Johnson on keyboard, Jeremy Tymkiw on drums, Jeremy Dyck on bass and the vocals of  Adrianna Sharan, who does the arranging for the band.

“They are unbloodybelievable,” raves Gene. “When Sharan sings Besame Mucho, well, like Sandy says ‘I almost want to stop blowing my horn so she’d kiss me.”

Granite Creek Estate Wines is a family owned and operated winery and vineyard whose wines produced from 100-per cent B.C. grapes on-site at the winery

Granite Creek Estate Wines is located at 2302 Skimikin Road in Tappen.

The fundraising garden party takes place from 2 to 5 p.m. Tickets are $25 and include one glass of wine and appetizers.

Tickets are available at Gene Tymkiw’s dental office  at 320 Alexander St. or call 250-832-9915.