September 28, 2020

BY KEILA MACPHERSON

What can be better on a cool spring day than dressing up with a group of friends and some warm drinks? How about knowing the money you spend is going to a charitable cause.

Jessica Wismer is a Conestoga alumni who combined her passion for tea and her flair for fundraising to put together a high tea event to raise money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Wismer started her job as a consultant with the company Steeped Tea about a year and a half ago because she loved tea, and said it made sense for her to work with the product.

Steeped Tea is a company started by Tonia and Hatem Jahshan of Ancaster, which sells loose-leaf tea through consultants at home parties and online. According to their website, steepedtea.com, in September 2012 their business was featured on Dragon’s Den.

A deal was made with Jim Treliving and David Chilton, and Steeped Tea started to make its way to the U.S. in March 2013.

As a consultant, Wismer hosts tea parties in people’s homes. The high tea fundraiser is a larger-scale version of a home tea party.

Wismer has also been volunteering with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Kitchener-Waterloo for the past couple of years and it was her idea to do a fundraiser that incorporated tea.

“Tea is good for your heart, good for your body in general, so to me it seemed like they went together,” Wismer said.

She outlined a few heart-healthy benefits that people can get from drinking tea such as tannins in tea prevent the build-up of plaque on teeth, and how tea, especially black tea, keeps the arteries “smooth and plaque-free.”

Wismer also said tea is a good alternative to juice and pop because you won’t be taking in as much sugar and caffeine.

“It’s good for your heart, but it’s also a good replacement for some of those other things.”

The high tea event will feature three flavours of tea: earl grey de la crème, a black tea; vanilla cupcake which is a rooibos and doesn’t contain caffeine; and Caribbean daiquiri iced tea to appeal to kids and people who don’t like regular tea.

Heart disease can affect anyone at any age and the Heart and Stroke Foundation wants people to be aware of that.

Although the high tea will be a social event, it will also bring awareness to heart diseases by having participants listen to a mother speak about her experience with having a child born with heart problems and his experiences growing up.

The event will take place on May 5 at Clair Hills retirement home, 530 Columbia St. W., in Waterloo. Tickets are $20 each and can be purchased at the Kitchener Heart and Stroke office at 1373 Victoria St. N., Suite 2A.

Wismer said they have been doing everything they can to make most of the proceeds go to the organization.

“We’ve been able to secure a lot of what we need through donations which has been fantastic.”

The linens, cutlery, flatware, sandwiches and snacks will be provided by Clair Hills retirement home. Teacups have also been donated for centerpieces that will be given to someone at each table, as well as the door prizes of tea, spa and Heart and Stroke gift baskets.

For more information, contact Jessica Wismer by email at jessica_wismer@hotmail.com, or call the K-W Heart and Stroke Foundation at
519-571-9600.