It's not just a blanket, it's hope!
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life, by what we give.” The words of Sir Winston Churchill rings true during winter time at any non-profit organisation participating in the annual Winterhope campaign. Almost reaching our halfway mark, we are yet again astounded at the amount of good will, open hearts and sense of community that is being created by something as simple as the freezing cold.
Looking at the flip-side of the coin, the freezing cold is not simple at all, but rather complex. Winter time sees our vulnerable community literally scattering around to hide away from the cold. At the start of Winterhoop (or Winterhope) back in 2000, a man tragically lost his life on the pavement in the city centre of Johannesburg, vulnerable and with no defence against the icy grip of winter. Through the tragedy of this man, the Winterhoop journey started in partnership between PEN and MES. When we fast forward 19 years to today, this partnership is shared with Towers of Hope and the Denis Hurley Centre and we can see that Winterhoop became a tangible and transformative vehicle in our journey to free our vulnerable and destitute communities from poverty.
You might think that a blanket can keep someone warm, but will not have a lasting effect? What we don’t understand, is that Winterhoop is more than just a blanket or a warm coat, Winterhoop is an opportunity to serve dignity through that blanket. Uncle Joe, was a beneficiary of Winterhoop a few years ago. He too was destitute and found himself at the mercy of the streets and the cold. The irony here is that he thought he was just getting a blanket when he knocked on the doors of the drop-in centre, but he got so much more. Winterhoop was the starting block that led him to get involved in the community program of PEN where he accessed psycho-social support and became job-ready. Today Uncle Joe is a driver at a buy-back centre that recycles waste. He earns a salary and he’s able to look after himself, and send some money back home to his family.
The success of Winterhoop doesn’t lie in a blanket, it lies in the heart of the person who gave THAT blanket that changed Uncle Joe’s life. Are you a hope-giver? Do you have a blanket that can change someone’s life? Maybe you have a few Rands to strengthen the hands of our Winterhoop partners? You might just be in a position to help a few Uncle Joe’s this winter time.
Visit www.winterhoop.org or call 011 725 0001 and let’s give hope!
Hit the donate button, or donate directly to: Winterhoop, ABSA, Acc 906 892 5251, Br 632 005 Ref Winterhoop2019
Feature Photocredit: Sciencemag.org