Recently several people from Wisteria traveled to India to find new products, meet with some of our artisans and gather fresh ideas for upcoming catalogs. They visited Jaipur a few days before their Diwali celebration. The whole city was bustling with preparations. Here’s a few pictures from their trip!
Janell, our Assistant Finance Manager is from Antigua and Barbuda. The country recently celebrated its Independence Day. We noticed the pin Janell was wearing, and she shared this story with us:
“Earlier this month, my country Antigua and Barbuda, celebrated 28 years of Independence. This year’s theme is One Family: Reviving our National Pride. It is with this national pride that I share my heritage with the Wisteria family.
The twin island nation of Antigua and Barbuda is located in the middle of the Leeward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean. Antigua, the largest of the English-speaking Leeward Islands, is about 108 square miles in size, while Barbuda, a flat coral island with an area of only 68 square miles, lies about 30 miles north. Temperatures generally range from mid-seventies in the winter to the high-eighties to low-nineties in the summer. There are 365 beaches on Antigua and Barbuda, one for each day of the year.
On November 1, 1981, Antigua and Barbuda gained Independence from Britain after becoming dependencies in 1967. The celebration of Independence Day is a festive occasion. The celebrations consist of a week of competitions, parades, expos, and food fairs. About two weeks before Independence Day, local businesses, schools, and government buildings decorate in the traditional fabric of the National Dress, called the madras, which is used for clothing and decoration. The National Dress is worn by many on this day in its original form and in different variations. It is a symbol of national pride and is worn with dignity.
The National Flag can also be seen throughout the islands. It was designed by a nationally acclaimed artist and sculptor, Sir Reginald Samuel, in 1967. The colors have different meanings. The black is for the African ancestry of the people, the blue for hope, the red for energy or dynamism of the people. The successive coloring of yellow, blue, and white (from the sun down) also stands for the sun, sea, and sand. The blue also represents the Caribbean Sea, the V-shape is the symbol of victory, and the rising sun symbolizes the dawning of a new era.
As a young girl, I can remember the many activities that took place throughout the island. My fondest memory is of the annual Youth Rally, where thousands of youths from all the schools would come together and parade the streets of the capital, St John’s, in an explosion of talent, creativity, and rich cultural display. The annual food fair is also a favorite. It attracts many people, both natives and tourists, to feast on the various local cuisines. Our National Dish, and also my favorite of the many local dishes, is fungie (pronounced foon-jee) and pepperpot, and can be found at any food fair and cooked in every home. Pepperpot is a soup-like dish with a mix of various vegetables and meats, and fungie is a cooked cornmeal paste served into little balls.
Beauty, rich culture, and fine cuisine all depict the majesty of my country as we celebrate 28 years of Independence. Two islands, one people, joined in national pride.”
Christian Appalachian Project is an interdenominational, nonprofit Christian organization committed to serving people in need in Appalachia area by providing physical, spiritual, and emotional support through a wide variety of programs and services. The realities of life in Appalachia include living in sub-standard housing, managing multiple health issues, and going without food, shoes and proper clothing. Over 22 million people live in the more than 400 counties that make up beautiful Appalachia. Also, the Appalachia area has a higher concentration of poverty, disability, poor education and serious illness instances than anywhere in the nation. The Christian Appalachian Project services allow the elderly, those with disabilities, and children to receive the much-needed basics. The Appalachian Project provides necessities to the families who need them most.
More than 1,000 volunteers spend time working with Christian Appalachian Project to further our mission. Building homes, visiting the elderly, delivering food, and caring for children throughout Child and Family Development Centers, volunteers are essential in reaching the thousands of people who need our help.
In some areas of Appalachia, up to 16.8% of homes are classified as substandard, having more people than rooms and no indoor plumbing. Christian Appalachian Project’s Housing and Home repair program not only repairs, improves, and rebuilds but also teaches homeowners repair and maintenance skills.
Nearly 60% of the children living in Christian Appalachian Project’s service area are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches because of their family’s income level, but one meal a day is not enough. Children may get a hot lunch at school, but the rest of their family does not. Christian Appalachian Project provides hungry individuals and children with nutritious food, trying to make sure that no one has to go without food.
Christian Appalachian Project provides weekly checkups on Appalachia’s elderly men and women, most of who live alone or are isolated because of their home’s geographical location. Visiting over 1600 homes a year, a caring caseworker or volunteer makes sure the elderly have food, heat, and basic necessities as well as the companionship that provides hope for a better tomorrow.
Operation International Children (OIC) was established to bring desperately needed school supplies to the children of war-torn regions served by American troops. Founded by actor Gary Sinise and author Laura Hillenbrand and working in partnership with People to People International and its President and CEO, Mary Eisenhower, OIC promotes the collection and contribution of both supply and monetary donations. All contributions to OIC are used solely for the project. With the help of the United States Armed Forces, OIC’s contributions are distributed to children throughout Iraq, Afghanistan, and other nations. The goal of Operation International Children is to improve the quality of education for children by ensuring their access to the basic tools of learning and to foster goodwill between American troops and local citizens while promoting the peace process.
Help us to build peace in the world by making a difference in the life of a child! After all, it is the children of the universe that are the real hope for peace in the future. We hope we have your support in being part of the solution.
Special Olympics is an international organization that uses sports as a catalyst to change society’s perceptions and treatment of people with intellectual disabilities. This world-changing mission has been at the heart of Special Olympics since the First International Summer Games in July 1968. There, through the vision of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, athletes with intellectual disabilities commanded the spotlight at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. For the first time ever, the world witnessed the dedication, dignity and worth of a people who had long been invisible. The world has never been the same.
Today, the sports competitions seen as the hallmark of Special Olympics, are at the center of a broader Special Olympics experience encompassing health, education, inclusion, research, policy and human rights. This holistic approach has helped transform Special Olympics into one of the world’s most powerful and effective social movements. From Special Olympics, the world sees a new way of thinking, feeling and acting. In the moments of the Special Olympics experience, the athlete is changed from a person of diminished value to a champion. And in the moments of the Special Olympics experience, everyone else is changed too. We are more open, joyful, tolerant and accepting. More than 3 million athletes strong in more than 180 countries, Special Olympics is changing the world.
If you are a fan of respect, acceptance and inclusion, then you are already a fan of Special Olympics. For more information about the Special Olympics, visit www.specialolympics.org.
In our holiday collection this year, we feature a set of Toy Soldier Candles. The idea originated with Hudson, our Vice President of Merchandising, who received a castle with toy soldiers when he was just little guy. He just remembers sitting for hours on Christmas morning looking at all the different parts and creating various battles scenes with the soldiers and horses. We love the idea of nostalgia during the holidays and wanted to keep his holiday memories alive with these candles. Here’s a special look at them and Hudson as a youngster.