Living Social Justice

A blog about responding to poverty and injustice, everyday and in all sorts of ways

Archive for the tag “flooding”

Warm Up Winter: What You Had To Say

Earlier this month, we asked you to help us Warm Up Winter by giving your good quality clothing to bless thousands of vulnerable people in Cape Town. Here’s what some of you had to say about the experience:

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The Common Ground Church youth from Frequency visited Christine Revell Children’s Home to drop off their Warm Up Winter bags

“We had a good conversation in our small group about where the clothing should go and discussed how we could give in a way that would promote relationship, be responsible and advance the Gospel. We were deciding whether to give to a partner organization or to a lady that one of our group is friendly with who lives in an informal settlement in Diep River (with the intention that she distribute items among the community). In the end, we gave to The Warehouse and the leaders and I made the suggestion that we  go as a group and visit the lady in Diep River at a later date just to build relationship with her.” – Theresa

One small group posed for a quick photo during their Warm Up Winter clothing sort

One small group poses for a quick photo during their Warm Up Winter clothing sort

“We dropped off our bags at U-turn and have decided to help a children’s home I volunteer at by providing each child with a pair of PJ’s to warm them up.  I had to take the bags to U-turn on my own as I was the only one available during work hours, but we’ve arranged to go to the children’s home on a Saturday morning with the whole group.” – Robyn

“One member of our small group went through her wardrobe and put aside many things to give away, and then a couple of days later decided that she had not been rigorous enough and went through her wardrobe again to find even more items to give away!” – Theresa

Manuela from the Constantiaberg AM congregation delivers clothes to Living Grace in Muizenberg

Manuela, from the Constantiaberg AM congregation, delivers clothes to Living Grace in Muizenberg

“We really tried to consider the dignity of the people we were giving to by sorting, folding and ironing the clothes nicely. We also prayed that these clothes would impact the lives of those who wore them and make them feel special.” – Shelley

Maegan and Emily ,from the Rondebosch PM congregation. diligently ironing the clothes before delivery

Maegan and Emily, from the Rondebosch PM congregation. diligently ironing clothes before delivery

“Last year’s campaign started to challenge me to not just give clothes that I didn’t want but also clothes which I was attached to. This year, I was even more challenged to give away some of my new stuff. After letting some of my precious ‘garments’ go, I started to experience a peace and a sense that this was obviously the right thing to do. This was a surprise as I thought that I would experience a sense of loss, or doubt as to whether it was really necessary to give away that suit. I guessed God showed me that if you are prepared to give up that which is close to you for His sake He will respond by working His Spirit in and through you.” – Nico

Getting in some play time during the Frequency clothing drop at Christine Revell Children's Home

Getting in some play time during the Frequency clothing drop at Christine Revell Children’s Home

Do you have any stories from Warm Up Winter?

P.S. How you helped Warm Up Winter (video) and How a traffic light encounter changed my idea of giving

How a traffic light encounter changed my idea of giving

Just another church clothing drive. That’s what Fuel Team member Caroline Maile thought of Warm Up Winter before one experience changed her mind.

Photo Credit: jenny downing via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: jenny downing via Compfight cc

I honestly never really thought much about Warm Up Winter other than that it was a great opportunity to clean out my cupboards. I knew it would help someone somewhere along the line but I didn’t expect to feel the real weight of what we were doing or ever find out whose lives we might be impacting. But my whole perception of the campaign changed drastically this year on the way to drop off my small group’s clothing collection.

It all started with a mix up. My small group had decided to give the clothes we’d gathered and sorted to one organisation, but we got the drop off details confused and so had to change our plan to give to Westlake United Church Trust instead. Initially, I was a bit upset as we’d prayed about it and I’d felt that our original organisation was the one that really needed the clothes. Little did I know that this was all part of God’s plan.

On our way to Westlake to drop off the clothes, we stopped at traffic lights in Claremont and I noticed a guy standing next to our car with the warmest smile. I smiled back at him and then I noticed that he was holding a crutch in his right arm and a sign board in his left.

I never usually read these signs because they usually say the same thing: “dear madam/sir in need of a job and money pls, have 5 kids to feed God bless.” But this guy seemed different so I took a moment to read his sign. It said, “All im asking for is clothes to keep warm and anything else you have to give please, thank you and God bless.”

I laughed out loud at the thought of God’s sense of humour. People don’t usually carry around spare clothes in their car, so this guy was really taking a chance out of pure desperation, but we happened to have a boot full of warm clothes. This was all he was asking for and we had it. We pulled off to the side of the road and I chose a bag for him filled with some smart shirts, jackets, pants, new shoes and warm scarves. As I walked closer to him I noticed he had tears streaming down his cheeks. He was so incredibly grateful for this single bag of clothing.

I took the opportunity to ask him his name and to get to know a little bit more about him. I told him a bit about myself and that these clothes were a blessing from God. I told him that God loved him and was looking after him even though his life might be really tough right now. I encouraged him to not give up hope and to pray to Jesus. The more I spoke, the more he cried.

When I asked him about his limp and his life on the streets, he told me that he’d been using drugs as an escape and that he’d had a stroke as a result which had damaged the whole left-side of his body. He had no use of his left hand and could barely use his left leg. I asked him if he was still using drugs and he told me that he wasn’t because God had warned him that the next time it would be his life. I asked if I could pray for him as I felt a word for him from God on my heart. I prayed for healing, restoration and a real revelation of Christ in his life. Afterwards, he threw his arms around me as best he could and thanked me. I was filled with such joy and my heart overflowed with love and a deep desire to change the world.

It’s crazy how God used us to bless this guy and to give him a sense of hope and dignity. We were also able to remind him that God cares deeply for us and loves us even in the midst of our suffering. This encounter also really changed my perception on giving. I’m now more aware of the opportunities we are given to give and the greater plans that God has for us to bless and be blessed.

So not only was someone’s life warmed by the clothes we were able to give them but my heart was also warmed and changed by this simple act of giving.

Do you have a Warm Up Winter story? We’d love to hear it!

P.S. Other great articles on generosity: How I’ve Learnt To Give and Minding The Gap

Video: How You Helped Warm Up Winter

Earlier this month, we asked you to help us spread the warmth during the cold and rainy Cape Town winter by giving of your good quality clothes and blankets to bless those in need. We called it Warm Up Winter.

Here’s a short video clip to highlight just some of the impact your generosity has had:

Thank you to everyone who supported by dropping off clothes with our WUW partner organisations! Do you have a story from Warm Up Winter? Please email to let us know!

Response to Cape Town Flooding

Wondering how to help those affected? Read on.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam

Photo credit: AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam

If you live anywhere in the greater Cape Town area, you would’ve by now  witnessed at least some of the havoc that the weather has wrecked over the city in the last couple of days. The torrential rain has flooded roads, delayed transport, and damaged many homes. We’ve been shocked by some of the news reports coming in. One reported that over 9000 shacks have been flooded and another has stated that more than 30 000 people may have been affected in some way by the weather. These scary figures have caused  many of us to sit up and ask the question: So what can we do to help?

If this is the question you’ve been asking yourself, we want to help you respond in a way that will best meet the needs of those affected. We have been in contact with The Warehouse, one of our partner organisations that work alongside the city in responding to disaster relief situations, and they have told us that things are currently under control.

It appears that while the flooding has been severe, the city municipality and disaster relief agencies were able to alert people in advance and set up temporary shelters to accommodate those affected. The biggest need for those who have been affected has been for shelter and a dry place to get warm and store their belongings.

So if you know of anyone who has been displaced by the flooding, why not offer them a warm and dry place to stay or store their belongings? If you’re blessed with a tumble dryer, why not offer to help dry their clothing and bedding? These may seem like small things but at the moment they could be the best way you could bless someone in immediate need. The long-term need is a far more complex one which calls for adequate housing to be built on land that is not prone to flooding. (We will be posting about ways you can help advocate for this over the next few weeks.)

You might also be wondering, how does this fit in with Warm Up Winter? We really encourage you to take part in this campaign by giving your good quality clothing to one of the partner organisations we have recommended. Some of these clothes will be used to respond to disaster relief situations, like we’ve mentioned above, but there are also numerous  organisations who will use these  clothes as a way of empowering people by providing employment opportunities. Our hope is that by dropping off clothing at these partner organisations you will not only help meet a need, but also build connections and relationships with the people behind “the need” and our partners.

If you have any questions, or for more info, email us, info@commongood.org.za, or visit www.commongood.org.za.

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