Proceeds from Dewey’s Holiday Store in Lewisville to benefit children in Guatemala
Published 2:30 pm Monday, December 20, 2021
By Janie Peterson
For the Clemmons Courier
Grabbing a sweet treat from Dewey’s can do a lot more than just get you in the holiday spirit; it can help send an underprivileged child to school. The Dewey’s Holiday Store is becoming a yearly event, and functions as one of the top fundraisers for the Mary’s Hope organization. This is the second year that the organization has been able to collaborate with Dewey’s. The store is located at the Lewisville Mill in between The Coffee Mill and Enchanted Cottage, and will be open from Nov. 20-Dec. 27.
“Without the Dewey’s staff this would not be possible. Being able to have the Dewey’s Holiday Store is a privilege for us and is extremely helpful in being able to meet some of our needs,” said Nancy Muster, vice president of Mary’s Hope.
Muster describes working with the staff as an optimal situation.
“They are very positive, they’re committed to supporting us. The Dewey’s holiday staff wants to serve the community,” Muster said.
Proceeds from the sale (35%) will go to help children in Santa Maria de Jesus, Guatemala. The ultimate goal is to establish a school (kindergarten through high school) for children whose parents cannot afford to send them to school.
“These are families that have no running water, no electricity, and most of the children are not attending school because the parents cannot afford it. These parents only make around $5 a day, at most $10 a day,” Muster said.
It all started in 2016 when a group of 10 from Holy Family Catholic Church went to Guatemala on a mission trip. Volunteers stayed in an orphanage, built homes and fed children with the support of their church. They noticed the many families in unfortunate, compromising situations as well.
“For people in Guatemala, the dump is where people have jobs. They go into the dump and will find things, and then go out into the community and sell or make money off of whatever they find in the dump,” Muster said.
When the group returned to the United States in 2019, Mary’s Hope was established with the goal of delivering a formal education to the children. Having a school is a long-term goal, but as of now, there are 40 children who work with volunteers to practice academic enrichment activities a few times a week in small groups (due to COVID-19).
“We’re teaching them how to write their names, reading and writing and math skills, but it can’t be as quick as we’d like because of COVID. It can only be once or twice a week depending on their groups,” Muster said.
“The times they do go, they get a meal, so that’s another plus for them because these children sometimes go hungry. They don’t really have meals.”
Additionally, there is a group of about 20 children attending public school who are being tutored and supported financially; Mary’s Hope helps provide the children with uniforms, books and pays activity fees.
Muster is involved in a program within Mary’s Hope that makes decisions on what educational materials to purchase for the children. With a background in teaching, she has a particular zeal for all that the organization is aiming to do.
“I have a passion for these children to learn and an excitement in knowing that they can learn to read at all. It just changes their whole perspective towards themselves. It builds a lot of confidence in them. It gives them so much more ability,” Muster said.
Part of her enthusiasm also comes from being a parent.
“I know how a little bit of education can go so far. It helps build you and helps you participate in the community. As a parent, you always wish and dream for your children to have so many opportunities in life, and education will give these children so many more opportunities. I see my children and how education has helped them,” Muster said.
She is confident that they are headed in the right direction — slowly, but surely.
“Our dreams are real big. Our dream is to have a school for the children and have teachers and all. We’ve had to learn that we have to take it step by step. Finding ways to raise money or finding sponsors is always a project that we’re working on. We know that having sponsors and donors is what’s going to make this work,” Muster said.
In addition to the Dewey’s Holiday Store, Mary’s Hope has held several other fundraisers, including an international dinner and a summer picnic, but is also constantly looking for sponsors. More information on how to donate is located on its website, http://maryshopeinc.org. In July, the organization is also going on its first mission trip to Guatemala since the start of COVID, and is welcoming anybody interested to join. To indicate interest, email President Julie Ray firstname.lastname@example.org.
Janie Peterson is sports editor for the West Forsyth Zephyr.