TEAM – simply put ‘together everyone achieves more’

Today we worked with Neighbourhood Watch, Law Enforcement, Metro Police, SAPS, ADT, TSU, Gordons Bay, SecureRite and agents responsible for retrieving shopping trollies.  Our part in this was to represent the compassion the community has towards the genuine bin scratchers trying to make a living out of peoples unwanted goods.  Almost all of the Neighbour Hood Watch team are volunteers.  They are so committed and sacrifice so much of their personal time and finance to put a stop to the escalating crime.  They are all such a great example to so many.  Why is it that so few do so much?  I think it’s a proven theory.  I would rather be part of the few than the many!
A team from our shelter positioned ourselves at a convenient stop and the various teams redirected the homeless and needy to our van where we were able to offer a warm cup of soup, bread, advice and introduce them personally to the services of the Shelter.  Most of them are just looking for what they can find, that can help them get through the day.  The few that aren’t and are genuinely up to ‘no good’ are sorted out by the Police, fined, items confiscated and warned to not return.  Before when local Law Enforcement has been involved all the items in the trolly weather stolen or foraged or personally belonging to the individual has been confiscated.  The big difference this time was that if it was general recyclable/sellable waste, food and their personal items of clothing etc, they were given a bag to place their items in and to be able to carry their goods away.
Everyone deserves dignity and respect.  
We have a great need for smaller size clothing.  The Night Shelter has a wonderful ‘clothing store’ large wendy house (sponsored by the Bay Church – THANK YOU) set up by Paddy Judd and Volunteers, maintained by the staff and frequented by our daily and nightly clientele.  However, most of our donations come from homes in the Helderberg where people ‘eat well’ are are of a larger ‘waist size’, YES this is a generalisation, sorry for that, we know we also have a lot of fitness freaks with beautiful lean bodies.  Many of the bin scratchers are young, skinny and need sizes 28 – 34 (men), 10 – 34 (women).  We are appealling to High School boys & girls, the gym freaks and those blessed with great sized bodies. Please also spread the word, amongst your office, remind your family, tell your friends, social groups, share on Facebook, as we want to encourage the homeless and needy to come to the shelter so that we CAN help them.
Most don’t know they can get help at the shelter, the rest which are just a few have a ‘false testament’ of what the shelter is and offers or they make reference to 7 or 8 years ago when various other couples were living on site as Supervisors and the shelter wasn’t run the way is should have been.  The person then can’t argue when we enlighten them of the change, we embrace them with love and encouragement, sharing HOPE.  
We have plenty food, blankets and always a hot shower available.  Also toiletry packs etc. Thanks to recent donations.  Please keep it coming.
Our TEAM are working incredibly hard.  So much so that I do feel bad the way I push them, but they always end up smiling as they have the right heart for the job, next week we will hire another container and add another 6 beds to our 60. We have a Team of just 8 staff (2 only appointed in the last month) who manage 60 people staying on a nightly basis, many being assisted during the day and many more who come for assistance during the day.  Plus the rotation of the coming in and going out (back home, moving into their own place, better situation, place of care etc) keeps on increasing.  So the monthly amount of people being helped by our team adds up to over a couple hundred a month. Over the last 3 weeks, the shelter has been doing a night outreach once a week on a Tuesday night, Strand, Gordon’s Bay and Somerset West.  The is the start of our WINTER OUTREACH PROGRAMME. The more we do this the more the understanding amongst the homeless changes.
As neighbours and community members we need to just keep on repeating and reminding people to GIVE RESPONSIBLY.  Thank You City of Cape Town for ‘coining’ this phrase so perfectly!
Rather support the shelter, which has the staff and does the work directly one on one, then just hand out money to the man/now many woman at the traffic lights, not to mention the blind, crippled (really or just a mockery of being crippled?!) and babies.  I work with a few of these beggars on a regular basis and they can honestly say that most of the money they get goes on drugs as it is so easy to stand there and just receive.
Thank You for all the new Facebook LIKES on our page, we have introduced the team and have regular ‘good news’ updates. Take a look, LIKE and keep updated.
Jo Swart
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