Warming up little bodies

Stop 1... The volunteers begin their morning at Itsosing creche and are welcomed by excited children.

In the article, Educational charity work done, week ending 22 April, the imagine.nation blanket drive was introduced.

With the help of residents in Sandton and all over Johannesburg, almost 2 000 blankets have been donated and imagine.nation is taking these warm gifts to underprivileged children.

As a part of this blanket drive, imagine.nation provided the gift of comfort and warmth to children at six creches. Sandton-based imagine.nation members Mandy Benjamin, Maxine Gray and Jonathan Forman visited Eskom informal settlement and Lanseria armed with more than 300 blankets. They were welcomed with hugs and songs by the little children who desperately need warmth during the winter months.

The concept of the blanket drive was started by Gray in 2012. She reflected on what inspired her to start this initiative and said, “I personally hate the cold. When I drove to university early in the morning during winter, I would see homeless families under a bridge. I decided that this was not acceptable. Nobody should have to suffer from the cold.”

She began collecting blankets from family and friends and handed them out to homeless people in Johannesburg. And so, the blanket drive was born and this concept has now been adopted by imagine.nation as one of their projects in 2016.

To celebrate the first year of this drive, they planned a morning visit to five creches in underprivileged areas. However, just before the completion of their charitable work, they stumbled upon a sixth creche, Shining Stars. Benjamin said she couldn’t help but donate blankets to these little children as well.

Milton Mzobe, who is familiar with the area, guided the volunteers and assisted them in handing out the blankets. He said these blankets symbolised more than just warmth. “Fires and other forms of heat pose a fire hazard in informal settlements and it is for this reason that blankets are encouraged in these areas,” said Mzobe. Unbeknown to the volunteers, they were not only promoting warmth but safety as well.

Benjamin concluded, “Where to from here? Our efforts will never stop.”

Details: mbenjamin.imagine.nation@gmail.com

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