When we feel the bite of winter cold in the air most of us curl up with a blanket and warm food. But this is an unknown luxury for far too many South Africans. Which is why our Staff Helping SA OUT (SHSAO) charity initiative have a yearly blanket drive to raise funds and blankets for those who need it most in winter.
The SHSAO Blanket drive ran over a few weeks and this year challenged OUTsurance staff to not only donate quality winter blankets but canned food as well. By the end of the drive a whopping 378 blankets were bought or donated, 1 100 canned goods collected and R19 117 was raised.
With so many donations our SHSAO members were able to give back in a big way. Their first stop was Mvelaphanda Day Care and Pre-School Centre in Thembisa. Mvelaphanda takes care of 40 children under a year old and over 180 kids over the age of one on a weekly basis. OUTsurance staff got the opportunity to offer support to the youth in our community. They took time to meet the children, hand out lucky packets with treats and give each and every child a cosy winter blanket.
For the second stretch of the SHSAO Blanket drive our staff joined the team from Open Mind Ministries to bring a little comfort and support to the homeless who call Kerk Plain, in Pretoria Central, their home. Despite the icy evening air everyone came together in the true spirit of giving with blankets and soup in hand. Our staff spent their night doing more than just dropping off donated items, they lent their ears and opened their hearts. Open Minds Ministries member Xenia Swanepoel expressed her appreciation for the “level of boldness the OUTsurance staff had to interact with the homeless with compassion and love”.
“Our Blanket drive is a very special project that means a lot to our staff” says Mariske Keyter, Staff Helping SA OUT Coordinator. “It’s humbling to experience first-hand the hardships so many South Africans endure, you realise how privileged you are just to have a warm place to sleep and food in your belly.”
We’re so proud to have carried the Blanket drive tradition through into its fourth year. The need to help young and old, winter after winter since 2013 is in itself a reminder that there is always more to be done. You too can make a positive impact in someone’s life one blanket, one can and one small gesture at a time.