Winter is by far the hardest season for a large portion of the South African population who are living outside the formal housing sector. Not everyone has the means to make large donations, but there are still many small ways to help those in need this winter.
Here are a few ways in which you can help.
Find a feeding scheme to support
There are a whole host of local feeding schemes around the country. Take a moment to find one nearest to you and ask how you might be able to help. Some feeding schemes make it as simple as making a few extra sandwiches a week or donating a pocket of potatoes. Depending on the organisation, there will either be a local drop-off point or somebody from the organisation will come to collect your donations.
Donate warm clothes, socks, and blankets
Cleaning house for the cold season? Taking stock of your family’s winter wardrobe? Don’t let those coats and hats go to the trash. Shelters and individuals will be grateful for your gently used items, especially warm clothes, socks and blankets, which are even more necessary during the cold months.
Support organisations that are making a difference
Another great way to make a real difference is by supporting companies that give back to the community. Relate Bracelets, for example, is a 100% not-for-profit enterprise that donates all its earned revenue to social upliftment initiatives across the country. The bracelets are made by elderly people in communities, allowing them to earn an extra income. During these unprecedented times, small actions add up to make a big difference.
If you do not want to merely donate to an organisation and want to do it on your own, then you can always create a fundraiser and encourage your friend and family to raise money for the less fortunate in your community. You can use an online crowdsourcing site to raise funds while still adhering to level 4 lockdown restrictions, or you could host a raffle, with all kinds of prizes to give away..
Make and hand out care packages
There are a few everyday essentials that a person needs to live and function that may be out of reach for someone who is homeless. Items like, fruit, noodles, granola bars, toiletries and bottles of water are all things that can have a huge difference for someone on the day.
Always. When you pass a homeless person who is out on the street, smile and say hello. It’s a simple gesture that costs you nothing and reminds someone that they still have dignity – and not invisible.