Board game event spells ‘C-H-A-R-I-T-Y’


If you love Scrabble, it doesn’t get any better than laying down a triple word score and using up all of your letters to do it — unless you’re helping out a worthy cause at the same time.

There’s a group of 90 grandmothers throughout the greater Edmonton area who may not have the good fortune of laying down the ultimate Scrabble score, but they are helping out an international charity that provides humanitarian relief.

For the Grandmothers of Alberta for a New Generation, also known as the GANG, The Good Words for Africa Scrabble Benefit is about helping their counterparts halfway around the world.

St. Albert resident Lee Dioszeghy is one of the founding members. The GANG, she explained, was started to help support the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign in sub-Saharan Africa. It is estimated that there are about 15 million AIDS orphans in Africa. Often, it is left up to the grandmothers to raise the children. Former Canadian politician and broadcaster Lewis called them, “the unsung heroes of Africa.”

“I thought that this was something I should get involved in,” she said, recalling when she first saw one of the organization’s conferences on television a few years ago that featured African grandmothers sharing their stories.

The Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign supports more than 300 grassroots projects involved with the HIV/AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa. These projects help give these compassionate caregivers better access to healthcare, nutritious food, bereavement support, microcredit loans, school fees, and other resources needed to plan for their grandchildren’s future.

“As well as trying to raise money, we do try to do some advocacy work to just make people aware of the plight of these orphans in Africa.”

Charity dollars are tight, she said, because of the competition for money and the uncertain economy.

“There are so many other things that people are asked to give money to. It’s a very difficult situation.”

The Words for Africa Scrabble Benefit is not for spelling bee champions. In fact, you don’t even have to be a die-hard fan of the game.

“It’s been a wonderful money-maker for us and the Stephen Lewis Foundation. It’s a wonderful excuse to play Scrabble.”

This marks the fifth year for the non-competitive tournament that has already brought in approximately $177,000. Dioszeghy hopes to have 100 or more players registered.

Good Words for Africa Scrabble Benefit

1 to 4:30 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 15
Southminster-Steinhauer United Church located at 10740 19 Avenue in Edmonton.
For further information, to play, or to pledge, please get in contact with either Louise (at 780-417-2754) or Sally (at 780-434-4173).
You can learn more about the foundation at or the local GANG at


About Author

Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.