Between 30 May 2013 and 15 June 2013, BAPS Charities South Africa held its annual Winter Warmer drive. For the first time in its history, the drive took place concurrently in all major cities of the country: Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. Approximately 1200 people from disadvantaged and impoverished backgrounds were the recipients of various donated items. Beneficiary organisations were chosen from Johannesburg, Lenasia, Cape Town and Durban. Below is a detailed breakdown of all the distributions in their respective cities.
Four different organisations were chosen as the beneficiaries of the Cape Town drive. These were: Lily Haven Place for the Aged – a home for the elderly, the St. Joseph Home for chronically ill children – a Christian based children’s home that caters for chronically ill children with serious health afflictions; The South African Children’s Home – the oldest known children’s home in the country that provides shelter for abandoned and orphaned children and the Sisoko Educare Facility – a crèche that looks after about 50 children from the impoverished township of Gugulethu.
In total, 200 blankets, bulk food items, clothing, toys, stationery and hot meals were donated to 330 people and children across these organisations.
The Phoenix Child & Family Welfare organisation was chosen as the beneficiary in Durban. The home, situated in a predominantly Indian area north of Durban, provides food and clothing to homeless and impoverished people. 150 blankets, clothing and 250 hot meal hampers comprising of vegetable biryani, salad, fresh juice and biscuits were given out as donation. About 200 tasty home-baked cupcakes were given out to the children of the organisation who were extremely excited and happy to savour them. A secondary safe house for abused women and children also received some of the leftover hot meals and cupcakes.
This year 3 different beneficiaries were selected: the Ebenezer Hannah Home, the Amazing Grace Home and the Aryan Benevolent Home. The Ebenezer Hannah Home situated south of Lenasia is home to 145 individuals comprised of HIV orphaned children and destitute adults. The home was started by an orphaned couple that had a vision to look after destitute adults and orphaned children and to provide love and hope for them to lead a normal life. Through a site visit and discussions with the lady that runs the home she highlighted the lack of government funding and social donations and thus this presented them with a challenge in providing for the residents of the home. It was through these discussions that this home was selected as the main benefactor and thus blankets, bulk food (nutritious non-perishable vegetarian food) required for daily feeding and 80 boxes of good quality clothing and toys were distributed.
The Amazing Grace Home, situated in the town of Eikenhof just outside Lenasia was established in 1989 and is home to 52 HIV and orphaned children and abused women. The vision of the home is to facilitate, develop, maintain and provide adequate care for children and women through rehabilitation and revival of family life. In discussions with the home it was apparent there was an urgent need for blankets for the winter season ahead, hence blankets were donated to each child at the home.
The Aryan Benevolent Home (ABH) in Lenasia is home to 43 children. It’s an offspring of the parent home in Durban which was established over 80 years ago. The aim of the home is to provide holistic care by meeting the physical, social, medical and educational needs of orphaned children as well as destitute adults. The ABH home was recipient to blankets. The lady of the home expressed her gratitude, and advised how she had prayed that we continue to support our community through our inspiring work.
In Mayfair, Johannesburg, different beneficiaries for this year’s Winter Warmer drive were chosen: the Helen Joseph HIV Clinic, the Barcelona Informal Settlement and the Riverlea Old Age Home. The Helen Joseph HIV Clinic is a specialist clinic based at the Helen Joseph government hospital that treats and looks after patients affected with (HIV) AIDS. 75 patients were the recipients of blankets and food hampers comprising of food and household items such as rice, maize meal, beans, lentils, candles, matches, canned food, butternut and gem squash vegetables. Senior doctors, hospital management and the CEO of the hospital were all present to witness the distribution of these items. They expressed their sincere appreciation of our efforts and requested that we support them on an on-going basis by providing much needed food and other necessities to their patients.
The Barcelona Informal Settlement is situated in a township north of Johannesburg, in the area of Daveyton. The people in this township live in absolute poverty with very little access to basic needs such as water and electricity. We provide bulk food and homeopathic medication to people living in the township on a monthly basis. On the day of the distribution blankets, food hampers and hot meals comprising of rice, salad and beans curry was served to 380 people in the township. We have a long term vision to improve the conditions for the people living in the area, including constructing a new school and a facilities building.
The final distribution took place at the Riverlea Old Age Home, close to Mayfair Johannesburg. Here, 50 residents of the old age home received food hampers and were served a sumptuous hot lunch meal comprising of rice, salad and a vegetable curry. They also received tea, coffee and cake. At the end of the lunch, they praised us and recited prayers thanking us for feeding them.
In summary, the BAPS Charities South Africa National Winter Warmer 2013 drive resulted in the following:
- 12 different organisations/homes/communities as beneficiaries
- 1220 people served in total
- 1025 Blankets distributed
- 505 Grocery Hampers given out
- 680 Hot Meals served
- 2 tonnes of bulk food, appliances and other necessities given out to the homes
- 110 volunteers assisted with all distributions across the country
Through the incredible hard work of our BAPS Charities volunteers across South Africa, the national Winter Warmer drive was a tremendous success. We contributed significantly to our respective communities and we succeeded in creating awareness of BAPS Charities within South Africa.