With the recent storms and icy winter well under way, I couldn’t help but wonder about all those who are outside in the cold. I’ve been thinking about ways to start a blanket drive in my community and after some research I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Stellenbosch Municipality is already doing wonderful work to help the homeless this winter.
In January they launched the The Stellenbosch, Give Responsibly Campaign to trial an innovative coupon system before winter really hit. Basically, people buy and hand out coupons to homeless people they meet on the streets who can then redeem the coupons for a blanket, a warm meal or a night’s shelter. The coupon system allows people to give others a hand instead of a handout. This project is focussed on encouraging residents, visitors and students to make responsible choices when giving to street people.
The Stellenbosch Municipality has teamed up with HeartFlow, Straatlig and the Stellenbosch Night Shelter to make the project a reality, with support from Feeding in Action and the University of Stellenbosch. HeartFlow has successfully been running a coupon programme for some time, encouraging people to hand out coupons instead of money or food to those in need. Straatlig works with the homeless and destitute in Stellenbosch through mentorship, workshops and counseling. The Stellenbosch Night Shelter caters to the oldest and most impoverished in the community and offers a safe space to sleep.
Since its launch in January, 800 coupons have been sold. In support of the project, the Mayor of Stellenbosch said at the launch: “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” How inspiring! “By supporting this initiative, you will be helping us to help those in need. Make a big change with your small change and support the Stellenbosch, Give Responsibly Campaign!”
All you need to do, if you’d like to contribute, is visit any of the following outlets and buy a R10 coupon:
• Tony’s Barber
• PostNet (Plein Street & Andringa Street)
• Cash Crusaders (iThemba Curious)
• Super Spar (Boord)
• Kwik Spar (Neelsie)
• BP petrol station (Merriman Street & Dorp Street)
• Moeder Gemeente
• NG Kerk Stellenbosch Wes and Welgelegen
• Joshua Generation
• Christ Church
You simply write the person’s name on the coupon (to prevent reselling) and select one of the services (a plate of food, a blanket or a night in the shelter) on it. The recipient can then redeem the coupon at the relevant organisation. Simple.
What a wonderful way to give back, spread the warmth and really make a difference this winter!