Ray of Hope for warmth for the vulnerable in Alex
Rays of Hope nonprofit organisation (NPO) has asked members of the public to donate blankets, warm clothes and cash contributions for food and medicine as part of their their annual #WarmUpAlex Winter Drive 2021 campaign.
"We have received about 45 blankets, and been promised over 300 from 67 Blankets but the campaign has only just started in earnest," CEO of Rays of Hope Sihle Mooi told Sowetan.
“Winters in Alexandra are brutal for vulnerable families who feel the brunt of Johannesburg’s notorious cold spells, which are even more heart-breaking to endure if they don’t have proper shelter, safe heaters or even warm clothes. #WarmUpAlex sets out to help them keep warm, and safe,” said Mooi.
67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela is a blanket-making, through knitting, initiative started by philanthropist Carolyn Steyn in 2013 after she was persuaded by Mandela's former secretary Zelda le Grange.
Mooi said the biggest impact cold winter temperatures have on the people of Alexandra is that they make use of paraffin heaters and other forms of heating, which too often result in fires that destroy homes.
"In the years that we have been distributing blankets [and other necessities], there has been a marked decrease in the number of fires. These heaters also give off dangerous fumes, which are detrimental to the health of the people in that home."
Mooi said their target, in collaboration with over 70 other NPOs in the area, is to warm up 5, 000 people this winter, including the homeless.
“In 2019 when the initiative began, Rays of Hope, in partnership with 24 other NPOs, also working within Alexandra, provided food, blankets and warm clothes to over 6000 Alex residents in need,” Mooi said.
She said in 2020 they provided food to over 70,000 of the most vulnerable people through the campaign.
“Rays of Hope is again appealing for help from people and businesses in the area to help keep the people of Alexandra warm this winter. We know there are many people who want to help, but who may not have the blankets or warm clothes to donate. A family sponsorship of just R250 can make a vast difference in the life of an Alexandra family, helping them with warm clothes, non-perishable food, and basic cold and flu medicine.”
Donations will be distributed as they are received, Mooi added.
Meanwhile, companies are encouraged to drive collections within their office blocks, and individuals are asked to rally their communities to collect new or pre-loved items in good condition to help streamline the process.
Contributions can be dropped off at the following locations: Sandton City, Centre Court Info Kiosk; Rays of Hope’s Alexandra office (2 Lupin Avenue, Marlboro Gardens), and Rays of Hope’s Sandton office (corner St Andrew’s Road and William Nicol Drive in Hurlingham).
Cash donations can be made into the following account: Rays of Hope, Nedbank account number: 1972 126 903, REF: WarmUpAlex.