Orphans of War Fundraiser Dinner 2018

Sarah Oatridge, reporter

Eat, Listen, Love

Orphans of War Fundraiser Dinner 2018


For those of you that do not know, Orphans of War is a non profit organization started in 2016 who’s number one focus is to love and care for the children who have lost parents in war or suffered physical and emotional traumas. Each year a fundraiser dinner is held here in Gig Harbor, Washington to share what life is like in the parts of the world were these children live and sharing a few of their very touching, personal stories.

The dinner takes place annually at the Gig Harbor boys and girls club, which is also where Harbor Christian Center holds church services on Sundays. Everything through the night held an Iraque theme which set the mood with many of the beautiful things their culture has to offer. The night started right when I walked through the door, there were friendly faces greeting me on both sides and right away I was happy that I came. I could smell the delicious Iraque food being prepared in the kitchen as the waiter showed us to our table. You could see the time and effort put into everything, from the detailed table setting to the peaceful lights hanging down from the juice station. The whole auditorium was filled with wonderful conversation and laughter coming from all of the 150 guests attending, the love in the room was contagious.   

The meal was made up of three courses, each one just as mouth watering as the last. Pickled veggies, tzatziki sauce, hummus, bread, and olives made up the first course and was brought to us as all the guests watched a video on how the food we were eating is prepared traditionally in Iraq. The second course was brought out next as Jonathan Webb, founder of Orphans of War, spoke to the audience about some of the children they are working closely with right now. As I listened to Jonathan speak I could feel the passion in what he was sharing and the heart he has for these kids. Stefan Stillion says, “I really like the way Jonathan talks there, it’s like he’s in his own living room, he makes it very comfortable and of course I love the whole purpose of this.”

Not long after, Ryan Blanck, a professional in prosthetics, joined Jonathan on stage. He started to elaborate on the specifics of the prosthetic legs being made for the Iraqi boy who lost them in a horrific attack from isis. Next, Jeff Helsdon came out to speak to the guests and share an inspiring personal story about doing good with only what is right in front of you tying in to how we all can do the same. Jeff says in his speech, “When you ask Jonathan, Why do you do the things that you do for Orphans of War? he says,’I have have two rules, the first is be fearless[…] be relentless and do what is right in front of you.’”

As the night started rapping up and dessert plates were being collected by the waiters and waitresses, guests began happily filling out donation papers. When everyone was excused guests  still stayed behind to socialize with each other, it was obvious no one wanted the night to end just yet. I then got the chance to walk around and talk to a few guests who stayed behind after and they were all more than excited to tell me their thoughts. Jeff Helsdon said, “What a successful and glorious evening this was,” I could not have summed it up better than that. It was truly an honor to witness what Orphans of War are doing for these Children and the immense impact they are having on their lives.