Across the country, South Africans are battling cold, rain, storms and other adverse weather. For a lot of us, we’re able to take refuge in our homes, dressing up in layers and keeping warm with blankets, heaters or fireplaces. There are, however, many of our fellow South Africans who are not as lucky.
Homelessness and poverty were major issues even before the pandemic, but with jobs and homes lost, these issues were only exacerbated. This has seen a lot more people struggling to not only make ends meet but just to keep warm and put food on the table.
The ever-increasing cost of living has meant that many more South Africans are struggling, so giving big monetary donations is not on the cards for a lot of people. But there are small ways in which to help those less fortunate. Below are five things to consider.
Volunteer at at a feeding program
Perhaps you don’t have money to donate, but you could give of your time. There are a number of feeding programs around the country that work tirelessly throughout the year to ensure that people have access to warm meals. You could help these people and organisations by giving of your time and assisting with meal preparation or dishing up at the drop-off points. Look up programs in your area and see what’s on offer.
Donate a blanket
Blanket drives are popular during winter and it’s an easy way to give back and help others. These are organised by individuals and organisations and usually have drop-off points. Radisson RED Rosebank in Johannesburg and Radisson RED Waterfront in Cape Town, for example, kicked off a blanket drive recently. The respective hotels encouraged their staff and patrons to jump in the pool and swim a lap or two. For every lap that someone swam, they donated a blanket. The public is encouraged to drop off a blanket at either hotel before 30 June 2022.
Add just one thing to your shopping
You don’t need to donate a whole trolley of goods if you aren’t able to. However, if you can, consider adding just one additional item to your shopping cart every month. Non-perishable or long-life goods such as lentils, long-life milk, beans, tinned goods and rice can make a big difference to someone’s life. You could donate this to your religious organisation, NGO or any other programs that you know of in your area. There are many schools that run feeding programs, so try them, too.
Donate your pre-loved clothes
There are probably many items in your closet that you no longer need or wear. It’s time to give them away. Create a donation box of all your winter items that you and your family no longer wear and drop them off at a nearby shelter or charity shop. They would be able to fairly distribute your donation to those who need it the most. And don’t forget those shoes! You definitely have some pairs of shoes that you haven’t worn in years, so perhaps it’s time to give them a new home.
Give a little to night shelters
If you have money to spare, consider donating to night shelters. You can do this from your phone, as platforms like Quicket allow for anyone to purchase tickets for night shelters on behalf of a person in need. A ticket for the Haven Night Shelter, for example, provides a meal, shower and overnight stay for one for a week for R75.
You don’t need to move a mountain to help someone this winter. These are just a few small ways in which we can all help, and if enough people do just one thing, it makes a big difference in the end.