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  • Laila Manie and Chasley Zervos

Warming Up to Heritage Day

Nutritious food, hot tea and the sought after, convenient peanut butter sachets all form part of the amazing initiative run by Ladles of Love together with The Hope Exchange. With an unfortunate climb in homeless people throughout the Mother City, Call 2 Care embarked on the Winter Blanket Drive to collect blankets in order to warm up those most vulnerable to Cape Town’s wet winters. What is most striking about initiatives of this nature is what Lauren George, Call 2 Care’s funding-fundi, explores as people needing a ‘’hand-up not a hand-out’’. With this mindset, Call 2 Care held multiple blanket drives at The Hope Exchange to make sure that those in need really do receive that hand-up. The Hope Exchange provides daily ablutions, toilet and laundry services, nutritional meals and more.

Now, more than ever, in a COVID-19 world, everyone has struggled in one way or another. COVID-19 accelerated so many things and notably, people struggling for their next meal became more widespread. The people Call 2 Care aims to help, with the Winter Blanket Drive and the upcoming Heritage Day Street Store, have struggled to have many of their needs met. With South Africa’s staggering increase in unemployment, it is not surprising that more and more people are struggling to make ends meet and maintain their access to basic necessities. Homeless people, however, do not have much more than the clothes on their back. Therefore, Call 2 Care seeks to address one of their many needs with this initiative. Organizations like The Hope Exchange, who provide an array of social services to homeless people, and the food-driven team of Ladles of Love help to make collaborations like this possible.

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Image by Gabby Marcolefas

Sharon Abbot of Go Sublimation, another important contributor to this initiative, was kind enough to create waterproof blankets specially for our Winter Blanket Drive. These blankets are made with a fleece inside and a waterproof exterior to protect vulnerable people exposed to the elements. The waterproof blanket can be wrapped around your body and used as a shield to protect one from the rain or cold, or laid down on wet grass as a protective sheet. Go Sublimation’s production process is deeply aligned with the Call 2 Care ethos of sustainability as the production process involves using small, family run businesses from underserved communities to cut, stitch and sew. Donations towards these blankets were made by DigiOutsource, Mainstream Asset Management and Old Mutual Insure which made an indelible impact on the success of the Winter Blanket Drive for 2021. Apart from this, individuals from the public also donated to the Winter Blanket Drive via Call 2 Care’s GivenGain page which makes the process of donating really easy and super efficient. All of these monetary donations assisted Call 2 Care in acquiring waterproof blankets to hand out to those in need. Apart from these incredible waterproof blankets, many blankets were donated at Call 2 Care’s donation points which were set up across the city and were run simultaneously with clothing donations. People donated pre-loved blankets and some people even went as far to knit us a few to add to the pack (how cool!?). With much appreciation being shown by those who receive the blankets, Call 2 Care is driven to make this a lasting initiative and serve a larger community. The Winter Blanket drive took place over a few weeks at The Hope Exchange where people received a hot meal courtesy of Ladles of Love and a blanket. Through this initiative, Call 2 Care was inspired to further address the needs of the homeless and so, the upcoming Heritage Day Street Store was born.

Street Stores & Dignity: The working wheels of a hand-up approach

Heritage Day, 24th September, is celebrated across South Africa and highlights our nation’s multi-cultural landscape and plays an important role in reconciliation and cohesion. However, when commemorating Heritage Day, it is important to remember the current realities South Africa continues to face and the increasing homeless population is just one of those problems. In the spirit of unity and giving back to those most in need, Call 2 Care was born on Heritage Day in 2014 and has been centered on improving lives ever since.

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Source: The Street Store

Call 2 Care’s Heritage Day Street Store is the brainchild of Lauren George from Call 2 Care and Katie of My Desert Rose who were intended to make a positive impact and uplift those most vulnerable and in need. The concept of The Street Store was born in Cape Town and consists of pre-loved, donated clothing where the homeless can come and choose what they need in a dignified manner, possibly for the first time in their lives. Through collaborating with The Hope Exchange and Ladles of Love, those in need of donated clothing will also receive a nutritious meal after they have shopped for their items - all free of charge! This effort has already signified, even more, the power of collaboration. Donations for the Heritage Day Street Store can be made until Monday, the 13th September at the various donation points.

A fundamental partner for this collaboration, My Desert Rose, is a woman-owned, pre-loved clothing brand which is centred on sustainability and reducing our collective carbon footprint. By using the expertise of Katie, the owner of My Desert Rose, about the pre-loved and second hand clothing industry, Call 2 Care was able to conceptualise and implement this Heritage Day initiative. My Desert Rose is centred on creating a circular economy by increasing the lifespan of luxury clothing items left behind by the production process in the fashion industry. According to My Desert Rose, ‘’just in the UK alone, ... 11 million garments end up in landfills each week’’. Katie has been instrumental in the coordination of the Heritage Day Street Store and Call 2 Care and My Desert Rose are making sure that well-cared-for clothing items are not discarded but instead, donated to clothe those who need it most.

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My Desert Rose: Buy. Sell. Discover (Supplied)

Additionally, Ladles of Love currently runs their Roeland Street Kitchen at The Hope Exchange four times a week and is committed to feeding the large homeless population in Cape Town. Ladles of Love has generously partnered with Call 2 Care for the upcoming Heritage Day Street Store to secure all the much-needed meals for the initiative.

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All images by Gabby Marcolefas

Make this Heritage Day about more than braai

South Africans love any reason to host a lekker braai day but this Heritage Day, Call 2 Care challenges you to get involved and do something a little different. Organizations like The Hope Exchange and Ladles of Love are so intimately confronted with the needs of Cape Town’s most vulnerable and so, a collaboration with these service giants has given Call 2 Care the opportunity to confront the lived realities of so many people. Call 2 Care encourages everyone to donate their pre-loved items at a drop off point that is most convenient. Call 2 Care is extremely thankful for all donations received, but is currently searching for small-medium sized men’s clothing as well as any children’s clothing. There are so many more vulnerable, homeless men than there are women and so, Call 2 Care is in dire need of men’s clothing to be donated. With all COVID-19 protocols in place and a driven team of Cape Town based volunteers, Call 2 Care is eager to head out to The Hope Exchange this Heritage Day and warm up the hearts of Cape Town’s most vulnerable, much like how Go Sublimation’s incredible waterproof blankets provided warmth. This is a collaborative, sustainable initiative that has expanded Call 2 Care’s aim to improve lives - from encouraging social change to meeting the urgent needs of those most in need. The Heritage Day Street Store is the first initiative of its kind at Call 2 Care and the goal is to make it an annual initiative.

Call 2 Care is a non-profit organization and functions on the generosity of donors from both the public and private sector and from individuals and businesses. It is your desire to make a lasting difference that fuels all outreach projects and initiatives. Click here to find out more about getting involved and making a contribution. Call 2 Care will celebrate their 9th birthday this Heritage Day and there is no better way to party than with all our volunteers and the generous help of organizations, businesses and individuals to make this birthday one to remember.

All images by Gabby Marcolefas


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