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Winter Appeal 2014

Your warmth gives warmth to the destitite!

While our mountains are blanketed with snow, and newspapers give blanket coverage to the cold, our destitute are desperate for the warmth a single blanket can provide, the sustenance of a steaming mug of soup. And, as happens every winter, The Salvation Army is trying to provide both.

As also happens every winter, the warmth in your heart and the hearts of all our other supporters, sees that God’s will is done. Through your help we are able to hand out hundreds of blankets and feed thousands with healthy helpings of piping hot, home-made soup. Of course our drive to help the helpless – those unable to help themselves for a variety of reasons that we have no God-given right to question – is national, we’re highlighting the plight of the people of Manenberg as a microcosm of South Africa’s poorest communities.

A Coloured township of Cape Town, Manenberg is infamous for its high crime rate, gangsterism, drug and alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy, violence, overcrowding, unemployment and poverty. In its heart you’ll find The Salvation Army Church and Crèche. Here, every week-day of the year, we look after 92 children aged from two to six
years. Many, with very young, single parents, are on grants. Most are back-yarddwellers, living in shacks at the back of a house. At the crèche they enjoy breakfast and lunch, plus all kinds of age-appropriate activities that help expand their minds – like reading and painting, for instance. When Major Lorna Fillies (pictured in dark glasses, serving the soup) arrived in Manenberg in 2011 she immediately saw the need for a regular soup kitchen.

After ‘test runs’ of feeding between 40 and 60 people at a time, she saw her dream come true. Now, every Thursday at 3.00 p.m. the community gathers outside the crèche to enjoy a nourishing plate of steaming soup, prepared by a group of Home League women. “This should feed about 200 people,” exclaims Major Fillies, eyeing the five massive pots of soup. Before feeding the 80 community children seated at the hall tables, she leads them in a short prayer, followed by a scripture reading and bible story. The soup arrives, the hungry silence is filled with appreciative sounds.

“This is probably the only meal these children will have today,” the Major comments sadly.

Outside a line has formed in the biting cold windy and wet winter. Men and women, including mothers with babies and toddlers. Young and old, holding their containers for soup – and for dear life. They clutch their threadbare clothing in an attempt to get warm. They devour their soup. Some return for seconds but, alas, the pots are empty. When it’s all over, Major Lorna gives a sigh of contentment, raises her eyes and gives thanks to the Lord for being able to give 200 people one hot meal this day. She also expresses her gratitude for being able to help the children particularly.

“Their circumstances are appalling,” she says. “They are neglected and get little or no love. Being able to bring a little affection into their lives – and getting them to understand the love of the Lord – is so rewarding.” As with all The Salvation Army facilities throughout the country, finance is the biggest challenge. And in Manenberg the challenge is monumental. “This is such a poor community, they cannot afford to pay for anything,” the Major concludes despairingly.

As winter trudges its way through to spring, we ask you to join us in blanketing it with our caring. To help the cold and hungry, the elderly and neglected, the children who never asked to be born into life’s hardships. To keep our soup kitchens going, to provide blankets and warm clothing that’s been donated, to make sleeping on the streets less of a nightmare. To help us bring the warmth of caring that will bring hope. May God’s blessings blanket your life, now and into the future.

Major Carin Holmes
Public Relations Secretary
Southern Africa Territory
PS: If perhaps your colleagues and friends have some blankets or warm clothing no longer needed and which they’d like to donate, please ask them to contact us so we can give them details of their nearest drop-off branch.