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How the chill of winter sears the soul
On these cold winter nights I wonder if you feel, as I do, that nothing you do can get you warm. Despite being replete with hot food, with heaters, winter sheets, electric blankets and duvets to cushion the cold, later when everything electric is off (threats of ‘power shedding’ ever in mind), when you move just ten centimetres in your bed, the sheets feel icy – like your nose! Brrrr …
Now imagine if you had no sheltering home, no form of heating at all, plus the pains of hunger and the fear that you might not make it through the night. Then think of the little ones, like the children in your own family, who suffer these deprivations without understanding why. Doesn’t the very thought chill your soul?
These scenarios are the unpalatable truth. A truth that doesn’t bear thinking about but must be faced by those of us who can do something about it. What can we do, you and I? Let’s look at what The Salvation Army does each winter, with your help. To relieve the plight of the many homeless people who live on our city streets and for whom winter is often a matter of life and death, The Salvation Army brings them sustenance and warmth. Each year, this is how we help:
• through our mobile soup kitchens, we provide approximately half a million meals – soup and rolls, piping hot and nourishing
• give out more than 100 000 blankets
• hand over any warm clothing donated to us
In addition we have numerous shelters around the country that provide up to 5 000 people at any one time with an area where they can be out of the wind and rain and where they can get basic hot food. These are some of the things we do in partnership with you. Silently, without fanfare. Few people leading normal lives see our mobile kitchens or shelters because they’re not in the most savoury parts of our cities, and most have left work and headed for the welcoming warmth of their homes. But we are there, as our pictures show.
The Salvation Army, Southern Africa Territory
PO Box 32217 Braamfontein 2017
Tel: (011) 718 6746
Fax: (011) 718 6796
Click here to email
Non-profit Organisation No: 012-787NPO PBO 930009713
Who are these people who suffer so?
They are young and old, black and white. They are people who have hit their own kind of winter, most through devastating circumstances. Children who have been orphaned, abandoned or have run away because they can no longer take the abuse they’re subjected to in their home. Women who have been brutalised. Men and women who have become unemployed because of health problems. People who have been discarded because they don’t quite measure up to mental expectations. Those who didn’t have the strength to fight some injustice, real or perceived. But who are we to judge? Who are we to decide who is worthy to receive our bounty? As a great philosopher put it:
the trees in the orchard do not ask who is worthy to eat of their fruit. Indeed, to see the smiles of gratitude light up
the face of a small child, a struggling teenager, an old man, or a despairing woman when we have helped relieve their
distress is, in itself, a wondrous thing.
I cannot express sufficiently how much The Salvation Army appreciates the support you’ve given to us in the past and hopefully will continue to give us. And I do hope you won’t think me presumptuous for suggesting that you pass on to family and friends our need for any unused blankets and outgrown warm clothes. Just one unneeded blanket or coat no longer in use could help to save a life. These can be dropped off at any of The Salvation Army homes, offices or church – whichever is most convenient. Supplying sustenance and warmth to the needy is, of course, only a small part of what The Salvation Army is about. We always need to raise funds so we can continue operating our homes throughout the country, to help educate the young who have no one else to see they are equipped for life, to look after the aged, to pay for the medical assistance we provide, and so on and on. The value of your continued support to help The Salvation Army function as a vital and
essential part of South African life cannot be underestimated. May your life be blessed with God’s warmth even through the coldest times.
Major Carin Holmes
Public Relations Secretary
Southern Africa Territory
PS: If you’d ever like to see one of our kitchens in operation, please contact your nearest branch for a schedule.