November has been an eventful month so far and with plenty of action still to come, well, it is NOT the end of all the fun yet!
As you may remember, the last weekend of October was Santa Shoebox Project: Pretoria East dropoff. That was the time when you, our loyal donors, got to take your wrapped shoeboxes to the Pretoria Chinese School so that the SSB team can pack it for distribution to the various beneficiaries in and around the city. It was on that Thursday, 27 October, that I finally had the great honor to meet Sandra Millar, the CEO of Dignity Dreams. In addition to knitted and crocheted squares for 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day and Santa Shoebox stuff, the residents of Zambesi Retirement Village donated funds towards the purchase of Sandra’s ‘Dignity Packs’ for girls. At R 150-00 per pack, it is a steal as the girls can re-use the sanitary pads for at least 5 years! I had enough money to buy 5 Dignity Packs and these were allocated to Sinomusa Daycare and Drop In Centre. Lucille Herbst took me around their office and I got to meet the workers who create these Dignity Packs. It was such a beautiful experience to see how Dignity Dreams not only help keep our girls in school, despite having their periods, but also help create work for the unemployed. Congratulations to Sandra and her team for this amazing initiative. You can count on my support, always.
That same afternoon I quickly stopped at Baby Angels in Villieria (Chrisna asked to see the Dignity Packs, as she thought they may come in handy for her new mothers). She was kind enough to add to these Dignity Dream Packs and donated a box of sanitary pads towards helping Rosinah take care of her girls at Sinomusa Daycare and Drop-in. What a lovely gesture it was; thanks Chrisna. Your donation meant that more girls at Sinomusa will be able to face their period without humiliation and embarrassment, especially since I could only afford 5 Dignity Packs.
On the 3rd I dropped in at Zambesi Retirement Village in Montana again. Invited by the Zambesi Knitwits, I received the final load of squares these busy ladies created for 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela. They donated a total of 699 squares!!! This will be enough to make around 11 blankets to distribute among the needy of South Africa. Ladies, you ROCK!! You are all such an inspiration, proving the saying: ‘busy hands are happy hands’. Thank you SO much for all your hard work and a special mention to aunt Adri Swardt, who got these ladies together and kept them going since my first visit to the village in July. Aunt Adri, you are certainly a force to be reckoned with; thank you from the bottom of my heart.
But wool squares were not all I received on that day; the residents donated sweets, toothpaste, soap, stationery and toothbrushes towards the Santa Shoebox project. All these went towards, what we call, ‘boot magic’. Boot magic is the term for all those extra items a Santa Shoebox representative always carry around in their car, just in case we end up at a celebration where some children are left without boxes. We also tend to take extra filled boxes with. One doesn’t want a child left without a gift now, do we?
On the 4th my loyal friends Ingrid Abendroth and Freda Shepherd accompanied me to Sizanani Daycare in Soshanguve for our first Santa Shoebox celebration of the year. Freda was kind enough to donate 130 cupcakes, party packs and cold drinks. Despite getting horribly lost (for the first time in my life, I must add) we finally reached our destination with the help of none other than the long arm of the law. Yes, the South African Police escorted us to Sizanani! Hats off to those two constables who helped three very agitated ladies find their way around Block W! After that ‘adventure’, the party was a huge success. The children sang the most beautiful Christmas songs, listened patiently to me telling the story and jumped with excitement when we handed out the gifts. As usual we had to drag Ingrid away from the children as she wanted to keep on playing with them and yes, we had to untangle some sticky little fingers from our legs so that we could get going. It was a wonderful experience, to think we not only brought some joy by giving gifts, but also brought some love, caring and companionship, even though it was just for a few hours. In the end, people, this is what it is all about….not WHAT you can give, but that you care to give at all and dare to stay a while and share some love. Those smiles are worth more than money can buy!
Well, when we finally managed to leave Sizanani we dropped in at Sinomusa Daycare and Drop-in to deliver those Dignity Packs I got from Lucille and Sandra. Rosinah and Dimakatso were THRILLED to receive them, especially since Rosinah was quite desperate in helping her teen girls cope with the challenge of menstruation and the extra expenses that goes hand in hand with it. They were absolutely ecstatic when they saw that, not only did they receive 5 Dignity Packs, but also ordinary sanitary pads (donated by Baby Angels).
During the course of November the brilliant staff of Laser Logistics delivered 64 cartons to my office. Every carton was filled with 7-10 Santa Shoebox gifts for various beneficiaries. These boxes had to be checked against namelists to ensure that every child at each of these beneficiaries (6 of them) receive a gift. Needless to say it kept me quite busy, but I did win in the end. During the past week Obakeng from Motheo Home, Portia from Kwanele, Kabelo from Lethabong Daycare and Nomsebenzi from Lethabong Child Care collected their boxes. They can now prepare for their celebrations without the worry that a single child will be left without a gift. On Friday I plan to drop off Success Daycare’s boxes in Hammanskraal before driving out to Thornview Prestige College Soshanguve, who sponsored a Christmas event at Ikaneng Drop-in and Daycare. They have quite a few details which must still be sorted.
Oh, and next week, on the 29th, we will have our Santa Shoebox celebration at Leamogetswe Safety Home in Saulsville. Those of you interested in joining the fun, please get in touch, I can guarantee an extremely fun party!
If you care to contribute to any of the coming events or would like to join in, click here to e-mail me.
Thanks again to all our contributors:
- Baby Angels and Chrisna Pretorius (sanitary pads for Sinomusa)
- Adri Swardt and the Zambesi Knitwits (squares for 67 Blankets)
- Residents of Zambesi Retirement Village (SSB fillers, boxes and funds for Dignity Packs)
- Thornview Prestige College: Soshanguve (sponsored Chrismas event at Ikaneng Drop-in and Daycare)
- Ingrid Abendroth (volunteer and donated party packs for Leamogetswe and O Lerato)
- Freda Shepherd (volunteer and donated cake and party packs for Sizanani)
- Jean Murison (headed up campaign at retirement village)
- Annette Jacobs (donated funds towards SSB celebrations in December)
This month we supported:
- Santa Shoebox Project
- Dignity Dreams
- 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela
- Sinomusa Daycare and Drop-In Centre
- Lethabong Daycare Centre
- Lethabong Child Care Centre
- Kwanele Children’s Centre
- Motheo Home
- Sizanani Daycare
- Success Daycare
- Leamogetswe Safety Home
- O Lerato Daycare
And last, but not the least, a prayer of gratitude to our Lord, who made it possible for us to do this work throughout these past few weeks. He touched the hearts of our donors who presented us with funds and items that we can distribute among the needy. May His Name be praised through our work and may our hands bear witness of His kindness.